June 3, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Junior Hannah Nielsen (Adelaide, Australia/Brighton Secondary) has been voted the 2008 Honda Sports Award winner as the nation's top collegiate female lacrosse player. The honor was based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 32nd year.
Nielsen's victory will earn her the 2008 Honda Sports Award, given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. She was voted over three other nominees, including Dana Dobbie and Kelly Kasper, both from the University of Maryland, and Syracuse University's Katie Rowan. The candidates were selected by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA).
Last year's Honda Sports Award winner for Lacrosse was Kristen Kjellman, also from Northwestern University, who also won in 2005 and 2006, making her the only player ever to win the award in three consecutive seasons.
"Winning the Honda Sports Award is a great honor for me," said Nielsen. "What makes it even more special is that I'm a very close friend of Kristen Kjellman, who won this award three years in a row. Kristen and I had a lot of fun playing together and even lived together for a couple of years. Being up there with her, and to be able to continue the Northwestern legacy of winning this award, makes me very proud. I have so many people to thank, including all my teammates and my coach."
A junior midfielder from Adelaide, Australia, Nielsen led the Wildcats to their fourth straight NCAA championship this year, netting three goals and three assists in the NCAA championship game, for a total of 12 tournament goals and 10 assists. She is the NCAA record holder (tie) for 69 assists in a single season, and second in the nation with 114 points. A three-time All-American, she has also been chosen as American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) Player of the Year and was an All-ALC team selection as well. In addition to being selected as MVP of this year's ALC championship, Nielsen won the Tewaaraton Trophy. She has achieved back-to-back 100-point seasons and scored at least one point for 44 straight games. She holds the Northwestern school record as all-time assist leader (141) and is fourth in scoring with 246. She is majoring in human development and psychological services.
Previously announced 2008 Honda Sports Award recipients include Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego for cross-country, the University of North Carolina's Rachel Dawson for field hockey, Texas A&M University's Ashlee Pistorius for soccer, Stanford University's Foluke Akinradewo for volleyball, University of Florida's Caroline Burckle for swimming & diving, the University of Tennessee's Candace Parker for basketball and the University of Georgia's Katie Heenan for Gymnastics. Honda Sports Award winners in golf, softball, tennis, and track & field will be announced in June. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions and the winner will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup at Columbia University's Low Library on Monday, June 23.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program.