Class of 2019 Honda Sport Award for Field Hockey finalists announced

Ashley Hoffman from the University of North Carolina, Paula Portugal of Miami University (OH), Anna Willocks from Saint Joseph's University and Princeton University's Elise Wong are the four finalists for the Class of 2019 Honda Sport Award for Field Hockey as announced today by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).

The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 43 years 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 2019 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 24, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles.

The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). The Honda Sport award winner for field hockey will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.

Hoffman, a senior midfielder from Mohnton, Pennsylvania, led her team to the NCAA National Championship title with an undefeated 23-0 record. She was named the 2018 NCAA Championship MVP and is a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Her 16 goals on the year tied for second on the team and she is a three-time Longstreth/NFHCA First-Team All-American while landing on the All-ACC first-team twice also.

Portugal was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row and earned 2018 Synapse Sports National Offensive Player of the year honors. She led the MAC in scoring for the second straight season with 24 goals and ranked seventh nationally in goals per game (1.04). Most recently, the senior midfielder from Madrid Spain was named a Longstreth/NFHCA First-Team All-American.

Willocks, hailing from Palmerston North, New Zealand, is a four-time A10 first-team All-Conference honoree and a 2018 Longstreth/NFHCA First-Team All-American. The senior forward is the first three-time All-American in program history and helped lead her team to its highest ranking in history (No. 10). She tallied 18 goals on the year and holds the school records for career goals, assists and points.

Wong, a senior defender from Lake Forest, Illinois, is a 2018 Longstreth/NFHCA First-Team All-American and was named the 2018 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. She led her team to the NCAA semi-finals and is a two-time NCAA All-Tournament team selection. With six shutouts on the year, the defensive unit posted the eighth lowest GAA (1.17) in the nation and had a stretch of 180 minutes of play without allowing a goal.

Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sport Award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Honda Cup award presented in June.

The CWSA, celebrating its 43rd year, has honored the nation's top NCAA women athletes for their superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.  Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs. 

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Honda seeks to be a company that society wants to exist, creating products and technologies that improve the lives of people while minimizing the environmental impacts of its products and business operations to ensure a sustainable future.

Honda also is committed to making positive contributions to the communities where it does business, conducting socially responsible business practices and promoting diversity in its workforce. From Honda's involvement in STEM education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to its support of pediatric brain tumor research and volunteer efforts by Honda associates, including environmental clean-up activities, Honda believes in giving back to the communities where its associates live and work.

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This article originally appeared on collegiatewomensportsawards.com on December 12, 2018.