The Massasoit Athletics Department recently announced its 2017 Hall of Fame Class featuring the 1987 Men’s Soccer team, current head baseball coach Tom Frizzell, and former student-athletes Steve Byrne (men’s soccer), Joneiha Veiga (women’s basketball/softball), JP Songin (baseball) and Pam Gear (women’s basketball/volleyball).
Tom Frizzell, Baseball Head Coach (1991-Present)
The NJCAA Hall of Famer has had plenty of success during his tenure in Brockton and cracked the 700-win club during the 2016 campaign leading the Warriors. Over his 26-year coaching career he has amassed an overall record of 707-347.
Under Frizzell’s watch, Massasoit has captured eight Region 21 Championships, five Northeast District Championships and advanced to the NJCAA World Series five times featuring a NJCAA Division II National Championship in 1993.
In his coaching career at Massasoit, the five-time NJCAA District Coach of the Year has led the Warriors to an average of more than 27 victories a season with a 67.1 winning percentage. In addition, Frizzell has coached 30 All-Americans and over 100 All-New England award winners.
Frizzell was elected to the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2011.
1987 Men’s Soccer Team
One of the hardest things to do in sports is repeat as champions, but the 1987 Massasoit men’s soccer team did just that, earning the second half of back-to-back NJCAA National Championships.
The Warriors started the ’87 season at 3-2-2 and then rung off 20 consecutive victories capped by topping Miami-Dade CC in thrilling fashion, 1-0, in the title match. The team’s final record of 23-2-2, marked the second most victories in program history.
The Warriors were coached by Nick Palantzas, who garnered National Coach of the Year honors as six players earned All-Region 21 accolades, including Tony Reis, who was also an NJCAA All-American honorable mention selection.
To this date, Massasoit is one of only six Division I programs to win consecutive NJCAA National Championships.
The 1987 roster consisted of: Tony Arruda, Gus Andrade, Enzo Ballarano, Rick Witt, Robert Arrighi, Nathan Emery, Ricky Martinez, Stephen McMenamin, Paul Sousa, Inacio Silva, Paul Gillis, Carlos Silva, Walter Santos, Al Peters, Chris Valante, Dennis Maduagwana, Mark Holyoke, Matt Bearce, Stephen Francette, Tony Reis, Jeff Antonio, Flemming Petersen, Assistant Coach Kevin Crawford, and Head Coach Nick Palantzas.
Steve Byrne, Men’s Soccer (1985 & 1986)
Steve Byrne was a force on the defensive end for the Warriors during his two seasons donning the Green and White back in the mid-1980s.
The Irishman played for the Warriors for the 1985 and 1986 seasons, helping the team post an impressive 46-4-3 record during that stretch, including winning the first of two NJCAA National Championships in 1986.
Byrne was a part of two Region 21 Championships and was twice selected to the National All-Tournament Team. In 1986, Byrne was named an NJCAA All-American and selected the National Tournament Defensive MVP as the Warriors went undefeated, posting a record of 25-0-2.
After Massasoit, Byrne went on to play at Fitchburg State for two seasons.
Joneiha Veiga, Women’s Basketball (2007-09), Softball (2008 & 2009)
A versatile two-sport student-athlete at Massasoit, Joneiha Veiga played on the hardwood and softball field for the Warriors during her time in Brockton.
Veiga was a combo-guard for two seasons (2007-09) garnering All-Region 21 First Team accolades both seasons. During her freshman year, Veiga poured in 460 points averaging a double-double and leading the team to a 17-9 record and a MCCAC Tournament Championship. In addition, she was selected as a NJCAA National Player of the Week on two occasions.
In the spring, Veiga played shortstop and hit in the middle of the Warrior lineup. She twice earned postseason accolades from Region 21, and later went on to play both sports at Curry College after her two years with the Warriors.
JP Songin, Baseball (1997 & 1998)
A slugging, middle of the order outfielder, J.P. Songin was a force in the Warriors lineup during the 1997 and 1998 seasons for head coach Tom Frizzell.
Songin was Massasoit’s first-ever two-time NJCAA All-American selection, earning second team honors as a freshman and third team accolades as a sophomore. He was also a two-time All-Region 21 First Team selection and Region 21 All-Tournament Team pick along with being a Northeast District All-Tournament Team honoree in 1997. Massasoit went 62-20 during his two seasons, claiming a pair of Region 21 Championships and advancing to the National Tournament in 1997.
Over his two-year career, Songin posted a .419 batting average (116-for-277) with 32 doubles (school record), seven triples and 12 homers. The lefty hitter scored 89 runs, knocked in 84 and slugged an impressive .715. He also showcased great plate discipline drawing 35 walks in two years, while only striking out 14 times.
Songin transferred on to Division II program Georgia College, where he played for two seasons.
Pam Gear, Volleyball (1984), Women’s Basketball (1983-1985)
Rockland native Pam Gear called the Asiaf Field House her home during her two years at Massasoit, suiting up for the volleyball and women’s basketball teams in the mid-1980s.
On the basketball team, Gear really shined, being selected First Team All-Region 21 both seasons. During her sophomore campaign, she cracked the top-10 single season scoring list with 427 points. Gear averaged a double-double, recording 19 points and 13.8 rebounds per game during the 1984-85 season and was also named to the Region 21 All-Tournament Team.
Gear was also a vital member of the volleyball team at Massasoit that captured the school’s lone Region 21 Volleyball Championship in 1984. The Warriors went 17-2 during the season and advanced to NJCAA National Tournament.
Gear went on to play basketball at the UMass-Dartmouth after her time with the Warriors.
The Hall of Fame event will held on Friday, August 11 at the Massasoit Conference Center in Brockton, Massachusetts. The event will start at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail hour and dinner preceding the awards ceremony. Those interested in attending the event can contact the Athletics Department at 508-588-9100, x1431.