New York City – University of Nebraska volleyball standout Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, Ontario) received the highest athletic honor that a female college athlete can receive, as she was named the 2006-07 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Monday morning.
Pavan was presented the Honda-Broderick Cup during ceremonies in the Low Library at Columbia University in New York City. The award not only recognizes outstanding athletic achievement but team contributions, scholastics and community involvement as well.
Pavan was selected as winner of the Honda-Broderick Cup by a vote of the Board of Directors of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program. Previous winners include track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and swimming star Tara Kirk (2004).
Pavan became the first University of Nebraska student-athlete to ever win the Honda-Broderick Cup, as five previous Husker student-athletes had won the Honda Award for being the top athlete in their respective sport.
“I was so surprised to find out that I had won the Honda-Broderick Cup,” said Pavan. “Growing up, I watched Mia Hamm and Rebecca Lobo and to be grouped with them is amazing! These are huge names in women’s athletics, and I’m humbled to be in the same category. I always work extremely hard, but my coaches and my teammates have also helped make me the best I can be. This is a great award for me, for the school and for the sport of volleyball.”
With Pavan’s win, the Honda-Broderick Cup has now gone to the volleyball nominee for the fourth time. Deitre Collins of the University of Hawaii won in 1983, Misty May of Long Beach State won in 1999 and Ogonna Nnamani of Stanford University won in 2005.
Pavan was among five finalists for the 2007 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award. This year’s other finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup voted by nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools included: Monica Abbott, University of Tennessee (softball); Paula Infante, University of Maryland (field hockey); Heather O’Reilly, University of North Carolina (soccer); and Candace Parker, University of Tennessee (basketball).
A 6-foot-5 junior right-side hitter Pavan led the Cornhuskers to a 33-1 record last year, as well as the school’s third national title and the team’s No. 1 NCAA ranking for the entire season. She was named the 2006 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player and the 2006 AVCA National Player of the Year.
Pavan led the Big 12 in kills with an average of 5.10 per game in 2006, ranking 10th nationally in that category, and topped all Big 12 players with 5.98 points per game. She reached double figures in kills in 33 of 34 matches, and finished with 20 or more kills in 10 matches. Pavan, who hit .313 on the season, is also a three-time, first-team AVCA All-American and a two-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.
An academic standout as much as a volleyball superstar, Pavan maintains a 4.00 GPA in biochemistry and was named ESPN: The Magazine’s 2006 Academic All-American of the Year. Pavan is also active in the Huskers’ Life Skills program, serving as a speaker on the program's Tour of Excellence and during American Education Week. During the spring, she served as the keynote speaker for the School is Cool Jam, speaking to 2,300 eighth graders on dreaming big and setting high goals.
Commenting on balancing her athletics and academics, Pavan noted: “I’m a perfectionist, and I expect nothing but the best in everything I do, both in volleyball and in school. I learned at a really young age how to prioritize my time. I’m also very interested in biochemistry, so it comes easier to me than to most people.”
After college, Pavan plans to continue playing volleyball overseas for as long as she can. She says she would then like to move back to Nebraska and go to medical school and perhaps become a pediatrician.
Individual Honda Sports Award winners, in each of the 12 sports in addition to the final five included: Duke University’s Amanda Blumenherst for golf; Northwestern University’s 3-time Honda Sports Award winner, Kristen Kjellman for lacrosse; the University of Georgia’s Courtney Kupets for gymnastics; the University of Georgia’s Kara Lynn Joyce for swimming; Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego for cross-country, Auburn University’s, Kerron Stewart for track and field and the University of Miami’s Audra Cohen for tennis.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program.