The Honda Sports Award is given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
Sarah was selected to receive the honor over three other nominees: Foluke Akinradewo, a sophomore at Stanford University; Nana Meriwether, a senior at UCLA and Courtney Thompson, a senior at the University of Washington who was last year's Honda Sports Award winner for volleyball. All four nominees were selected by the AVCA All-American Selection Committee.
"I was excited when I found that I had won the Honda Sports Award because it is such a prestigious honor, and I am honored to represent collegiate women volleyball players all over the country," Pavan said. "I was looking over the list of past winners -- players like Logan Tom, Misty May and Flo Hyman -- these were people that I idolized when I was little and always wished I could be as good as they. Seeing my name along side theirs is a really big honor."
A 6-foot-5 junior right-side hitter from Kitchener, Ontario, Pavan led the Huskers to a 33-1 record and the school's third national title. Behind Pavan's efforts, Nebraska was ranked No. 1 the entire 2006 season, becoming only the third team in NCAA history to be ranked No. 1 all season. She was named the 2006 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, 2006 AVCA National Player of the Year and was named the ESPN The Magazine's 2006 Academic All-American of the Year with a 4.00 GPA in biochemistry. A three-time AVCA first-team All-American and two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, Pavan is also a two-time ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-American.
In 2006, Pavan led the Big 12 in kills with an average of 5.10 per game, ranking 10th nationally in that category. She reached double figures in kills in 33 of 34 matches, and finished with 20 or more kills in 10 matches. She also led her team and the Big 12 with 5.98 points per game and hit .313 for the season.
After college, Pavan plans to play volleyball overseas and then would like to move back and attend medical school and perhaps become a pediatrician.
Pavan is Nebraska's fourth Honda Sports Award winner, joining past winners Greichaly Cepero (2000-01), Allison Weston (1995-96) and Karen Dahlgren (1986-87). Nebraska has now had a total of six Honda Sports Awards in school history, as softball player Denise Eckert (1984-85) and gymnast Heather Brink (1999-2000) were the other Husker athletes to win this prestigious honor.
Previously announced Honda Sports Award recipients for the 2006-07 year include the University of North Carolina's Heather O'Reilly for soccer; the University of Maryland's Paula Infante for field hockey and Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego for cross country. Honda Sports Award winners in basketball, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field will be announced in the coming months. 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 in New York in June of 2007.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program.
VOLLEYBALL HONDA SPORTS AWARDS
1976-77 FLORA HYMAN University of Houston
1977-78 DEBBIE GREEN USC
1978-79 ANNETTE COTTLE Utah State University
1979-80 ANN MEYERS University of Dayton
1980-81 PATTY BERG University of the Pacific
1981-82 SALLY SCHLOBOHM University of Texas
*1982-83 DEITRE COLLINS University of Hawaii
1983-84 DEITRE COLLINS University of Hawaii
1984-85 LIZ MASAKAYAN UCLA
1985-86 KIM ODEN Stanford University
1986-87 KAREN DAHLGREN University of Nebraska
1987-88 SUZANNE EAGYE University of Hawaii
1988-89 MARY EGGERS University of Illinois
1989-90 TARA CROSS Long Beach State
1990-91 BEVERLY ODEN Stanford University
1991-92 NATALIE WILLIAMS UCLA
1992-93 NATALIE WILLIAMS UCLA
1993-94 DANIELLE SCOTT Long Beach State
1994-95 LAURA DAVIS Ohio State College
1995-96 ALLISON WESTON University of Nebraska
1996-97 ANGELICA LJUNGQUIST University of Hawaii
1997-98 KRISTIN FOLKL Stanford University
*1998-99 MISTY MAY Long Beach State
1999-2000 LAUREN CACCIAMANI Penn State
2000-2001 GREICHALY CEPERO University of Nebraska
2001-2002 LOGAN TOM Stanford University
2002-2003 LOGAN TOM Stanford University
2003-2004 APRIL ROSS USC
*2004-2005 OGONNA NNAMANI Stanford University
2005-2006 COURTNEY THOMPSON Washington
2006-2007 SARAH PAVAN University of Nebraska
* Honda-Broderick Cup winner