Pavan Named Today's Top VIII Award Winner

University of Nebraska volleyball star Sarah Pavan received one of the highest honors a college student-athlete can receive on Monday, as she was selected as one of the 2008 NCAA Today's Top VIII.

The NCAA Today's Top VIII honors eight senior student-athletes among all levels for their athletics success, academic accomplishments, community service and leadership. Pavan will receive the award during the NCAA Honors Celebration on January 13, 2008, at the NCAA Convention in Nashville.

The other 2008 Today's Top VIII are Rachel Buehler, Stanford University, soccer; Roberto Castro, Georgia Institute of Technology, golf; Dennis Dixon, University of Oregon, football; Ben Wildman-Tobriner, Stanford University, swimming; Lisa Winkle, Calvin College, basketball and outdoor track; Jamie Wolf, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, diving; and Sarah Zerzan, Willamette University, cross country and outdoor track.

The Top VIII honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which is composed of eight athletics administrators at member institutions and national distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.

Pavan is the 16th Husker to earn to the honor, a total that leads the nation, and the fourth Husker volleyball winner, joining former greats Nancy Metcalf (2002), Janet Kruse (1992) and Virginia Stahr (1990). Pavan, the only volleyball player in the 2008 Today's Top VIII, is just the 12th volleyball player ever receive the award which was first presented in 1973.

"It is truly humbling to see your name with such an elite group of student-athletes," Pavan said. "These people have accomplished so much in their sports and in other areas and it is special to be considered in that group."

"When I came on my visit, they showed me the list of the past Top VIII winners, and I was amazed," Pavan said. "I saw it and said ‘to be one of those you must to do something great.' I didn't understand how special it was. Being at Nebraska over the past four years, I began to understand how elite that group is. It is not something I ever expected to receive, and I am really honored to accept this."

"After the honors Sarah has earned during her career, this is the one award that eluded her because it is only presented to seniors," Nebraska Coach John Cook said. "Having had the experience of watching Nancy Metcalf win this award in 2002, this is the most prestigious honor that a college student-athlete can receive. It is truly the elite of the elite."

"While the Honda-Broderick is like the Heisman Trophy for athletic and academics, the Today's Top VIII means even more because it is chosen from student-athletes, both male and female, from every sport from all three divisions. To be selected among the top student-athletes in the country is the ultimate honor, and it shows the commitment that the University of Nebraska has for its student athletes to succeed both academically and athletically. This is a proud moment for the Husker Nation and a great reflection on our program."

Pavan recently wrapped up one of the most decorated careers in college volleyball history, becoming one of only four players in NCAA Division I history to be a four-time first-team All-American. A three-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, Pavan was named the 2006-07 Honda Broderick Cup Winner and 2006 American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year as a junior. She was a four-time, all-conference selection and was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 NCAA Championship, helping the Huskers to a national title.  As a senior, Pavan averaged 4.83 kills, 1.90 digs and 0.49 service aces per game in earning Big 12 Player-of-the-Year honors for the third straight year. She led the Big 12 in kills and points per game (5.73) and was among the Big 12 leaders in service aces (second) and hitting percentage (.342, 10th). She finished her career with a school-record 2,008 kills, becoming only the fourth player in Big 12 history to reach that plateau.

She has been just as successful off the court, where she carries a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry. She is a three-time first-team Academic All-American and was chosen as the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year during 2006-07. Pavan has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor roll every semester at Nebraska and is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 performer. The Kitchener, Ontario, native is also active in Nebraska's community outreach program, as she has volunteers for SafeQuarters to Benefit Friendship Home, a breast cancer walk and was a motivational speaker for the "School is Cool" Celebration program during her Nebraska career.

Nebraska's All-Time NCAA Top VIII Winners
Randy Schleusener (Football, 1981)
Dave Rimington (Football, 1983)
Mark Traynowicz (Football, 1985)
Tom Schlesinger (Men's Gymnastics, 1989)
Jake Young (Football, 1990)
Virginia Stahr (Volleyball, 1990)
Pat Tyrance (Football, 1991)
Patrick Kirksey (Men's Gymnastics, 1991)
Janet Kruse (Volleyball, 1992)
Rob Zatechka (Football, 1994)
Trev Alberts (Football, 1994)
Aaron Graham (Football, 1996)
Grant Wistrom (Football, 1998)
Nancy Metcalf (Volleyball, 2002)
Richelle Simpson (Women's Gymnastics, 2005)
Sarah Pavan (Volleyball, 2008)

All-Time NCAA Today's Top VIII Winners in Volleyball
Year    Recepient, School
1986    Susan Harbour, Oregon
1887    Lisa Ice, San Jose State
1989    Dylann Duncan, BYU
1990    Virginia Stahr, Nebraska
1992    Janet L. Kruse, Nebraska
1995    Amy Albers, Washington (Mo.)
1998    Kasey A. Morlock, North Dakota State*
1998    Carrie Ferguson, Capital (Ohio)*
1999    Kristin Folkl, Stanford
2002    Nancy Metcalf, Nebraska
2005    Ogonna Nnamani, Stanford
2008    Sarah Pavan, Nebraska
*-two-sport athletes

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