Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics.
Ashley Hoffman, a senior defender from the University of North Carolina, was named the Honda Sport Award winner 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". With this honor, Hoffman becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious Class of 2019 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 24, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles.
Hoffman was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Paula Portugal (Miami University), Anna Willocks (Saint Joseph's University) and Elise Wong (Princeton University).
"I was so excited to hear I'd won, and it was awesome to get the news from Coach Shelton, since she's a past winner of the award," stated Hoffman. "I could not have won this award without her support, and the support of the entire staff and my team."
"One of the things I focused on at Carolina was community outreach, so to have this award recognize what I've done both on and off the field means a lot to me. It's validation that I became the best player and best person I could be at this university."
Hoffman, hailing from Mohnton, Pennsylvania, led the Tar Heels to the 2018 NCAA Championship title and earned NCAA Championship MVP honors. A starter in all 96 games during her career, she was twice named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and is a two-time Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) first-team All-American. During her four years at UNC, she had an 82-14 record winning an NCAA title, three ACC titles and making the final four each year.
As center back, she led a UNC defense that gave up just 16 goals in 23 games and never more than two to any team, including a 2-0 shutout of Maryland in the NCAA final. She was also a leader on the nation's highest scoring offense, ranking second on the team in goals with 16 and in points with 39, both career highs.
She is one of just three current collegiate players who are also members of the U.S. National Team and is graduating in December with a degree in sociology. Off the field, she is a two-time All-ACC Academic Team honoree and is active in community outreach, both with the team and on her own, and with UNC's Leadership Academy.
"It's been a pleasure to watch the way Ashley has represented UNC during her career and especially as a senior, when she led the team to an undefeated season," said UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham. "She's undoubtedly one of the top players in the history of an exceptional program. She's also a great example of a student who has excelled in all areas, and she's someone we're very proud to call a Tar Heel."
"I could not be more thrilled for Ashley," stated UNC head coach Karen Shelton. "This is our sport's most prestigious honor and it recognizes the fact that she was clearly the best player in the nation this season. She excelled on offense and defense and led us so well. She was the best player on the best team in the country."
"This award also recognizes the fact that she excelled academically and in community outreach during her four years. She's had an outstanding all-around career here – great player, great leader, great teammate, great student. She has made us all so proud and will go down in program history as one of our all-time best."
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 43rd year, honors the nation's top NCAA women athletes 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 $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs at the institutions.
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.
Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/