Sept. 20, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame's Dillon Powers and Grant Van De Casteele have been named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award in the men's soccer division. The Fighting Irish duo is among 30 student-athletes up for the prestigious honor.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Men's College Cup, which will take place December 7 and 9 in Hoover, Ala.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) and Van De Casteele (Plano, Texas/Frisco Centennial) are two key reasons why Notre Dame is 7-0 this season, which is the program's best start since the 1987 campaign. Along with the rest of their Fighting Irish teammates, the Plano, Texas natives are heavily involved in the South Bend/Notre Dame community by supporting such causes as the Salvation Army, Grassroot Soccer and the Notre Dame Pediatric Christmas Party.
Powers, a two-time Notre Dame team captain, has played in 58 straight games for the Irish, including 45 consecutive starts. He has 29 career points on seven goals and 15 assists. Powers has two goals and two assists this season. He was a 2012 preseason all-BIG EAST selection and has been named second team all-conference in each of the past two seasons.
He boasts a 3.417 cumulative grade-point average in Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters. Powers is majoring in political science with a minor in peace studies. He was named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-American in 2011. Powers also is a three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star.
Van De Casteele is an anchor in a Fighting Irish defense that has posted four shutouts this season and currently has a scoreless streak totaling 234:52. The central defender has played every possible minute on the pitch this season. He has started every Irish match over the last two-plus seasons and has three career goals.
Van De Casteele is a four-time dean's list honoree and boasts a 3.690 cumulative grade-point average as a finance major in Notre Dame's nationally-ranked Mendoza College of Business. He has been named a BIG EAST Academic All-Star three times and was an NSCAA Scholar All-Region selection in 2010 and 2011. Van De Casteele is the men's soccer team's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) representative at Notre Dame in addition to being the school's lone BIG EAST SAAC representative.
For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
The second-ranked Fighting Irish open BIG EAST play Saturday at Louisville. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Cardinal Park.