Inky Ajanaku from Stanford University, University of Wisconsin’s Lauren Carlini, Micha Hancock of Penn State University and the University of Washington’s Krista Vansant are the four nominees for the Honda Sports Award for volleyball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2015 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
The Honda Sports award winner for volleyball will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Ajanaku is a junior middle blocker from Tulsa, Okla., and a two-time AVCA first-team All-American selection. She helped her team earn the top-seed in the NCAA Tournament and will compete in the NCAA Championship semifinals this weekend. She ranks fifth in the nation in hitting percentage (.438) and finished the regular season ranked in the top ten in the Pac-12 in four different statistical categories. This season she was twice named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and earned both an Offensive Player of the Week and AVCA National Player of the Week nod.
Carlini, a sophomore from Aurora, Ill., was named the 2014 Big Ten Player and Setter of the Year while most recently earning first-team AVCA All-American honors. The setter ranked second in the Big Ten with 11.42 assists per set, led her team and ranked third in the Big Ten with 0.42 aces per set while ranking second on her team with 3.04 digs per set. She was a four-time Big Ten Setter of the Week and a one-time Player of the Week. She posted a season-high 61 assists versus Washington (Sept. 19).
Hancock, a senior setter, earned her third AVCA first-team All-America honor this season and is a three-time All-Big Ten selection. Hailing from Edmund, Okla., she was named the Big Ten Setter of the Week five times this season and garnered the AVCA National Player of the Week award. Her squad enters the NCAA Championship semifinals as the No. 5 seed and she leads the nation in aces per set averaging 1.03 while her career total (378) is first in the Penn State and Big Ten record books. She also leads the nation in hitting percentage (.348) and is first in the Big Ten in assists per set (11.53).
Vansant, the class of 2014 Honda Award winner for volleyball, is a two-time AVCA first-team All-American and was recently named the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for Volleyball and the ESPNW National Volleyball Player of the Year. The senior outside hitter is a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year and was named the 2014 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A native of Redlands, Calif., she finished her career as the leader in kills at Washington with 1,893 and this season posted a career-best .320 hitting percentage along with a career-high 4.67 kills per set.
The CWSA presents the Honda Sports Award annually to top women student-athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. Honda Sports award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sports award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2015 Honda Cup award presented in June.
Five Honda Sports Awards winners for volleyball have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup- Megan Hodge (Penn State, 2010), Sarah Pavan (Nebraska, 2007), Ogonna Nnamani (Stanford, 2005), Misty May (Long Beach State, 1999) and Deitre Collins (Hawaii, 1983).
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 38 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.8 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.