Lincoln ľ Nebraska volleyball star Sarah Pavan was recognized for her athletic and academic success on Friday, when she was named the Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year for 2007-08.
Pavan, one of four Husker volleyball players to earn conference female athlete-of-the-year honors, is the first Husker student-athlete in history to win the award twice, and just the second athlete in Big 12 history to be a multiple honoree, joining former Texas softball player Cat Osterman.
Other Husker winners of the conference female athlete-of-the-year accolades include Greichaly Cepero (2001), Virginia Stahr (1989) and Annie Adamczak (1985) in receiving an honor that dates back more than two decades.
Pavan, who also won the award in 2006-07, wrapped up one the most decorated volleyball careers in NCAA history. In 2007, she was named Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year, AVCA First-Team All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year, capturing the Big 12 honor for the third straight year. The senior right-side hitter led NU to its fourth-straight Big 12 title with a 19-1 league record and a 30-2 overall mark with a trip to the NCAA Regional final, where she was named to the all-tournament team.
Other career honors include the 2006-07 Honda-Broderick Cup winner and AVCA National Player of the Year. One of only four athletes in NCAA history to be a four-time first-team All-American, Pavan guided the Huskers to a 126-7 record over her career with two NCAA finals appearances and the 2006 national title. Pavan holds
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, the
Pavan, who will play volleyball professionally in Italy beginning this fall, was also active in community service projects during her career. She was a spokesperson for the Lincoln Downs Syndrome Buddy Walk, a SafeQuarters to Benefit Friendship Home volunteer and a motivational speaker for the “School is Cool” Celebration.
Other female candidates were Zuzana Zemenova (Baylor tennis), Lisa Knoll (Iowa State track), Elizaveta Avdeeva (Kansas tennis), Loren Groves (Kansas State track), Adrianne Perry (Missouri gymnastics), Kiara Redmond-Sturms (Oklahoma gymnastics), Pernilla Lindberg (Oklahoma State golf), Mary Yarrison (Texas diving), Megan Gibson (Texas A&M softball) and Sally Kipyego (Texas Tech cross country and track).
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel claimed the Big 12 Conference Male Athlete-of-the-Year award. Daniel finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting while leading MU to its first-ever appearance in the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship Game. The junior was a finalist for the Davey O'Brien, Walter Camp and Manning awards.
Male nominees included Lars Poerschke (Baylor tennis), Brent Vaughn (
Big 12 Athletes of the Year
2007-08, Sarah Pavan,
2006-07; Sarah Pavan,
2003-04; Nicole Ohlde,