Sierra Shugarts, a junior defender from Western Washington University, was named the 2017 DII Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for soccer as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.
She is now designated one of 11 finalists for the prestigious DII Honda Athlete of the Year honor. This will be voted on at the end of the academic year by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the CWSA program, now in its 41st year.
Shugarts, of Federal Way, Wash., was named the NCAA Championship Defensive MVP after leading her team to its first national championship in program history. She captained a defense that set a school record with 17 shutouts and surrendered only 10 goals in 25 games. The WWU defense finished the year ranked fifth nationally with a .396 goals-against average as well as eighth nationally with a .680 shutout percentage.
The GNAC Player of the Year, she became the third WWU women’s soccer player to ever be named a first-team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). She was one of just three defenders to earn first-team honors. She also earned first-team All-America honors from the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA).
"It seems as if this dream season can’t get any better, but with each award, I am continually grateful for the support of my teammates, coaches and Western Washington University,” stated Shugarts. “This means so much to me, but I could not have done it without my teammate. It is so amazing to get any awards as a defensive player because usually there are never enough stats to back up how much a defense does. I am proud to represent my team and my defense as a whole with this honor.”
"As the team captain and leader of our defense she directly impacted the incredible mental toughness of our entire team and the unbelievable consistency of our defense,” said head coach Travis Connell. “Time and time again throughout the season she was matched up against record breaking opposing strikers and every time she rose to the challenge. Every award that she has earned this year is very well deserved. She is a team leader, a force on the field and a model student-athlete."
All sports nominees from DII and DIII become a finalist for the prestigious 2017 Honda Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year in their respective divisions, presented in a live telecast on June 26, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles. The sports nominees are recognized in 11 DII and DIII NCAA-sanctioned sports; cross country, basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 41 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 $3.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.