For simply the fourth time within the college’s historical past, North Carolina could have not less than two recipients of the Honda Sport Award.

On Thursday, fifth-year senior Sara Daavettila was introduced as this yr’s recipient of the Honda Sport Award for Tennis. Daavettila joins fellow Tar Heel Erin Matson, who was named the winner of the sector hockey award on June 2.

What’s the Honda Sport Award?

The awards – which have been round since 1976 – are given yearly to the highest girls athletes in twelve NCAA-sanctioned sports activities. The winners are decided by a voting panel of roughly 1,000 directors from NCAA member faculties.

The twelve recipients of the award turn out to be finalists for Collegiate Lady Athlete of the Yr, the winner of which might be offered with the 2021 Honda Cup.

UNC’s historical past with the awards

The Tar Heels boast previous Honda Award winners from a big selection of sports activities, from cross nation to lacrosse to soccer.

For a college to have multiple winner in a yr is a uncommon accomplishment. The one different instances Carolina Athletics has claimed a number of winners was in 1990 with Leslie Lyness for subject hockey and Shannon Higgins for soccer, 2004 with Shalane Flanagan for cross nation and Catherine Reddick for soccer, and in 2013 with Kara Cannizzaro for lacrosse and Crystal Dunn for soccer.

By no means earlier than has UNC had three winners in a yr, however that has the potential to alter as senior goalkeeper Taylor Moreno was named as a finalist for the lacrosse award on Monday. The winner of the lacrosse award might be introduced subsequent week.

UNC girls’s tennis will get first Honda Award winner

Daavettila might be breaking floor as the primary UNC athlete to win the award for tennis. After dropping out on final yr’s event due to COVID-19, the senior determined to make use of her additional yr of eligibility and return for her fifth season at UNC.

Daavettila’s 149 profession singles wins are tied for second-most in program historical past. Final season, she was ranked as excessive as No. 1 within the ITA nationwide rankings, whereas profitable Most Excellent Participant within the ITA indoor event and ACC Participant of the Yr.

Daavettila earned the highest seed within the NCAA Singles Championship the place she made the semifinals, and he or she has probably the most profession quarterfinals appearances in program historical past with three.

Matson continues her dominance

Few Tar Heels have ever gained the Honda Award back-to-back, however that’s simply what Matson did after main UNC subject hockey to one more championship.

It’s onerous to overstate simply how unbelievable the junior attacker’s run has been at UNC. She has gained three championships in three years with this system and has solely misplaced a recreation as soon as in her school profession.

Final season, Matson led the nation in targets per recreation with 1.45. She scored 29 targets final season, which accounted for almost 45 % of the staff’s 65 targets. The following-highest scoring gamers had been in a three-way tie with six targets every.

Contemplating Matson’s awe-inspiring numbers this previous season, she needs to be in severe rivalry to be named the Collegiate Lady Athlete of the Yr.

Soccer legend Mia Hamm is the one UNC athlete to have ever hoisted the Honda Cup. Like Matson, Hamm gained consecutive Honda Awards in 1993 and 1994, the latter yr being the one by which she gained the cup.

This yr’s awards ceremony might be broadcast on the CBS Sports activities Community on June 28 at 9 p.m. Whether or not or not UNC will come away with the cup, one factor is for sure: the Tar Heels might be nicely represented as their girls’s sports activities packages make historical past as soon as once more.

@LucasThomae

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com





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