LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- Kara Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.), a senior midfielder from the University of North Carolina who led the Tar Heels to their first NCAA women's lacrosse championship, has received the Honda Sports Award for lacrosse and becomes a finalist for the 2013 Honda Cup. Cannizzaro is the first Tar Heel lacrosse player to win the award, given to the national player of the year.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) will present the Honda Cup live on ESPNU, June 24 at the USC Galen Center Founders Room in Los Angeles.
"This is an amazing honor, something that a player can only dream of receiving, and I am truly grateful for being considered. I would like to thank the Honda Award committee for everything they do in this process. Also I would like to thank my teammates, because without them and their resilience I would not be in this position. This award is as much theirs as it is mine. Thank you so much again, and I am honored to be a recipient," said Cannizzaro.
Named the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Cannizzaro scored four goals with two assists in the title game to lead the Tar Heels to an upset of top-seeded, undefeated Maryland with a 13-12 win in triple overtime, the longest title game in NCAA championship history. North Carolina finished the season with an 18-3 record, and Cannizzaro finished her All-ACC and All-America season with a school-record 83 points on 61 goals with 22 assists.
"The Honda Award is such a tremendous honor, and I cannot think of a more deserving student athlete than Kara Cannizzaro," said UNC head coach Jenny Levy. "The impact and influence that she had on our young team was unparalleled, as our team was never considered a front runner for the 2013 national title. Kara was instrumental in leading our team and helping develop what would become our identity of a tough and relentless mentality. As a co-captain, she fostered a fun and welcoming atmosphere that encouraged all players to realize their full potential and our team to develop an unwavering belief in ourselves. Without her consistent, fearless and dominant performances throughout this season and during our NCAA Tournament run, our team would not have captured its first national championship. Kara is an extremely hardworking and passionate athlete, an exemplary student and a contributor to the community, a true champion in all arenas, representing North Carolina and the sport of lacrosse in a first class manner."
The CWSA presents the Honda Sports Award annually to top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. With this honor, Cannizzaro, majoring in journalism and communications studies, becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2013 Honda Cup. She was chosen for the Honda Sports Award by a vote among the United States Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association (USILWCA). Finalists included Alex Aust (Maryland), Becca Block (Syracuse), and Katie Schwarzmann (Maryland).
Cannizzaro will be joined in Los Angeles by an impressive roster of 2013 Honda Cup finalists including Iowa State's Betsy Saina (cross country), Princeton's Katie Reinprecht (field hockey), North Carolina's Crystal Dunn (soccer), Oregon's Alaina Bergsma (volleyball), Georgia's Allison Schmitt (swimming & diving), Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (basketball), Florida's Bridget Sloan (gymnastics), USC's Annie Park (golf), Stanford's Nicole Gibbs (tennis) and winners yet to be named in track and field, and softball. The Honda Cup finalists will be joined by the 2013 Honda Inspiration Winner, Purdue's Andrea "Drey" Mingo, and the NCAA Div. II Athlete of the Year, Ashland University's Kari Daugherty. The Div. III Athlete of the Year is yet to be named.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation's top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, 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 $2.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs at the institutions. Previous Honda Cup winners include Brittney Griner, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Lisa Fernandez, Misty May-Treanor, Maya Moore, and Candace Parker.