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Bull Run Awards 2016: Best of this year's UB Fall Sports

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2015-16 is all wrapped up, which means before we really get into previewing 2016-17, it's time to look back at the best of the year behind us with the Bull Run Awards.

UB Athletics

This is the second year of the Bull Run Awards, which we started after the 2014-15 season, our first covering each and every UB team. As last year, the Awards will be spread out over five days, covering each of the three seasons and two day's worth of special awards:

Day 1 - Wednesday: Fall Sports
Day 2 - Thursday: Winter Sports
Day 3 - Friday: Spring Sports
Day 4 - Saturday: Coach of the Year, Men's and Women's Rookie of the Year, Clutch Moment of the Year
Day 5 - Sunday: Team of the Year, Men's Overall Bull of the Year, Women's Overall Bull of the Year

Fall Sports

Football - Jordan Johnson

In a season marked by offensive inconsistency, a surprising defensive turnaround and a few standout players there were a few choices. Coming into Coach Lance Leipold's first season at the helm, Jordan Johnson was the clear number 2 behind Anthone Taylor but he had shown several times that he was capable of carrying the load himself. By the end of the season Johnson had proven to be the most effective offensive weapon for Offensive Coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, racking up 1051 all-purpose yards, 72 points scored and 12 rushing touchdowns, all team highs.

While there was serious debate among several defensive players including Okezie Alozie, Brandon Berry, Nick Gilbo and Boise Ross, ultimately, Johnson was the choice due to his remarkable consistency throughout the season. - John McWhinnie

Honorable Mention: Brandon Berry, Nick Gilbo, Okezie Alozie, Matt Weiser, Boise Ross

Women's Cross Country - Amy Shaw

On a team with promising new faces and a few upperclass returners, it was Shaw who stole the show, building on a strong 2014-15 track season to become one of UB's most reliable runners. Through the regular season, Amy was never UB's top runner, but was one of only four women to run for UB in seven races and was among the scoring five at every opportunity. In the biggest races of the year, Shaw really stepped up, leading the Buffalo pack by 20 seconds at the MAC Championships and over 30 seconds at the NCAA Regionals. Her performance at the conference championships earned her Second Team All-MAC honors, the first for a UB woman since Mary Veith reached the First Team in 2008. - Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Rachel Barich, Melinda Wheeler**, Chardae Henry

**2015 Honorable Mention

Men's Soccer - Russell Cicerone*

For some teams there will be an obvious name-- this is one of those cases. And how could you argue? Cicerone followed up stellar freshman and sophomore campaigns with a junior campaign for the record books. Cicerone scored 12 goals and notched 8 assists en route to earning his third straight 1st team All-MAC honor and being named MAC Player of the Year, UB's first since Steve Butcher in 1999. - John McWhinnie

Honorable Mention: Joe Kuta, Marcus Hanson**, Nick Forrester

*2015 Winner **2015 Honorable Mention

Men's Cross Country - Barrett Kemp** and Cameron Bruce*

We'd like to shy away from co-winners, but for Men's Cross Country it's too close to call, a question of consistency versus performance in the season's biggest races. Both Bruce and Kemp were routinely at the top of the UB pack in the regular season, with Kemp pacing the Bulls at the UB Stampede and Bruce at Pre-Nationals, and traded off big performances in the late season, with Bruce pacing Buffalo by a wide margin and earning Second Team All-MAC at the MAC Championships, while Kemp was UB's fastest by an even wider stretch at the NCAA Regionals. - Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Adam Hunt, Derek Palafox

*2015 Winner **2015 Honorable Mention

Volleyball - Megan Lipski**

With an extremely young squad, Blair Brown Lipsitz had her work cut out for her in her first season at the helm. Luckily for Coach Lipsitz, several players stepped up, chief among them, Megan Lipski. While Cassie Shado, Megan Wernette and Valisha Watkins were all considered, Lipski was senior leader that helped keep the team together through a rough out-of-conference stretch and into a MAC Tournament appearance. Additionally, Lipski led the team in several statistical categories including: kills (327), digs (346) and kills per set (3.06). - John McWhinnie

Honorable Mention: Cassie Shado**, Valisha Watkins, Megan Wernette

**2015 Honorable Mention

Women's Soccer - Kassidy Kidd

To put it bluntly, Kassidy Kidd was everything a coach and fans could want in a senior leader this year, stepping into a bigger role in the offense from the outset, helping to mitigate the losses of Katie Roberts and Meg Giesen, staying positive early in the season when she must have led the conference in posts and crossbars, and handling a brief move out of the starting lineup and yet another position change with aplomb. Once the goals started coming, they came fast, as Kidd didn't score until the final month of the season but tied for the team lead with six goals, including five in a scintillating three-game stretch. Even more impressively, she also tied for the team lead in assists, with six, while taking the most shots of the group. In the final third, the offense moved as she moved. It was a huge step forward from a senior, who capped her career with First Team All-MAC honors. - Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Julia Benati, Laura Dougall**, Andrea Niper, Jackie Hall*

*2015 Winner **2015 Honorable Mention

***
Congrats to the honorees on great seasons! Stay tuned tomorrow for the Winter Sports Awards!