Holly Van Noord, a senior goalkeeper on Liberty's women's soccer team, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award. The award was announced as part of the FLAMESPY Award show on Monday evening.
In 1974, the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award was established to honor the top graduating senior student-athlete at Liberty University who best exemplifies the standards and lives of both of these great Christian men.
Rock Royer was Liberty's first football coach in 1973. Mac Rivera was a member of Liberty's men's basketball team from 1972 until 1975. Both Rock Royer and Mac Rivera tragically died at a young age, with Royer dying in a plane crash and Rivera passing away after a fall.
This award encompasses more than just athletic ability. It recognizes the Liberty University graduating senior student-athlete who has maintained an exemplary testimony on the playing field, in the classroom and among the student body.
"Holly embodies integrity and lives it out on a daily basis which gives her a platform to speak truth into the lives of those around her," said Kristin Eggert, Liberty women's soccer assistant coach. "She set the standard by getting the work done, day in and day out, without complaint. She pushed herself the hardest which allowed her to hold her teammates accountable."
"What speaks volumes about who Holly is, is the depth of love she has for her teammates and those who know her have for her. Respect is a word that has become synonymous with Holly Van Noord and it has been a respect that has been earned one day at a time."
Van Noord rewrote the Liberty and Big South record book during her four year career with the women's soccer program, recording 41 shutouts. During her senior year, she led the Big South with a 0.85 goal-against average and .866 save percentage.
She is a two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year (2014 and 2016), becoming the first player in program history to garner this award. She is also the only player in women's soccer history who has been named to the NSCAA All-Region team all four years of her career (second team: 2014 and 2016; third team: 2013 and 2015).
Van Noord was named to the All-Big South team three times during her career and helped the Lady Flames capture conference titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
The native of Hudsonville, Mich., will graduate this May with her second degree from Liberty. She completed her undergraduate degree in kinesiology (health and physical education) with a 3.72 GPA in May 2016, and holds a 3.84 GPA while pursuing a master's degree in secondary education.
While she was not practicing or studying, Van Noord found time for additional activities around campus and in the community, working with the following local programs: 21st Century Grant Program Volunteer, Payne Elementary and Sandusky Middle School Volunteer, Lynchburg City Schools Volunteer, Dollar Makes a Difference, Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat, Share the Warmth, Operation Christmas Elf, Parkview Community Center Food For Families Volunteer, Jefferson Park Community Block Party, Hop On Pop Day Collections, Various Soccer Clinics, Christmas Shoppe Present Wrapper at Heritage, VA 10 Miler Volunteer and the Lynchburg Daily Bread Volunteer.
"To say that Liberty has impacted my life forever is an understatement. The relationships I've made and the ethics I was taught made me confident in the person I am today, and more importantly, being a child of God," said Van Noord.
"Growing up, my life was always about living for myself. As a student-athlete at Liberty, I found it very easy to become entitled as I was constantly provided new gear, scholarship, food, and the best services and facilities in the nation."
"However, the perspective of myself and the way I lived quickly changed as I was surrounded by Liberty's faculty, staff and my fellow teammates who were so willing to serve with a joyful heart. They taught me that being a Christian meant living selflessly, a concept that was foreign to me."
"The people at Liberty were daily examples of true servants and they inspired me to live for Christ, every day," continued Van Noord. "I was constantly pushed to become greater in my physical, academic, social and spiritual areas of life. My life was transformed as I trained my heart out in soccer because I wanted to represent God to the fans, my teammates and our opponents."
"Liberty has taught me that playing soccer was a privilege and more importantly, an act of worship. For the first time in my life, I was playing soccer for God and at the end of the day, I felt true joy," concluded the goalkeeper. "And now for the rest of my life, I know how to strive to be my best in all areas of life, sharing the love of God in the work place, community and in my relationships by living selflessly."
Van Noord is the second women's soccer in player history to earn the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award, joining Sonia Rodriguez who won the award in 2006.
Van Noord is the 50th overall recipient of this distinguished award, and this is the 44th year Liberty Athletics has presented its top athletics honor to a well-deserving graduating senior student-athlete.
Rock Royer Award 1974 – Rick Herceg – Football 1975 - Sling Patterson – Football 1976 - David Neff – Football 1977 - Scott Goetz – Football
Mac Rivera Award 1977 - Paul Dalton - Men's Basketball
Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award 1978 - Gary Avila – Wrestling 1979 - Dave Anderson – Football 1980 - Karl Hess - Men's Basketball 1981 - David "D.J." Hertzler – Football 1982 - Sharon Snodgrass - Women's Basketball 1983 - Bill Gillespie - Football/Men's Track & Field 1984 - Rick Seilhamer - Wrestling 1985 - Sue Andrew - Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 1985 - Dave Bream - Baseball 1986 - Ron Stamer - Men's Soccer 1987 - Pam Wilder - Women's Basketball 1988 – Annie Hunt Fairchild – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 1988 – Andre Sims – Football 1989 - Kathy Guetterman - Volleyball 1990 - Lynn Attwood – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field/Women's Basketball 1991 - Craig Holiday - Wrestling 1992 - Mike Coleman - Men's Basketball 1993 - Theresa Bream - Volleyball/Women's Basketball 1994 - James Downey - Football 1994 - Matt Hildebrand - Men's Basketball 1995 - Todd Setsma - Men's Golf 1996 - Ryan Werner – Men's Track & Field 1997 - Michael Prettyman – Men's Track & Field 1998 - Ben Anderson - Football 1999 - Jarrod Everson - Football 2000 - Elena Kisseleva - Women's Basketball 2001 - Andrea Wildrick – Women's Track & Field 2001 - Nathan Day - Men's Basketball 2002 - Heather Sagan – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 2003 - Collin Mascagni - Men's Soccer 2004 - Tatiana Tkachuk - Volleyball 2005 - Sam Gado - Football 2006 - Sonia Rodriguez - Women's Soccer 2006 - Phillip Thompson - Baseball 2007 - Arlene Zelinskas – Women's Track & Field 2008 - Allyson Fasnacht - Women's Basketball 2009 - Beth Bennett - Softball 2010 - Chris Rocco - Football 2011 - Zach Duke - Football 2012 - Jesse Sanders - Men's Basketball 2013 - Jennifer Klugh – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 2014 - Trey Lambert - Baseball 2015 – Alex Close – Baseball 2016 – Ashley Rininger – Women's Basketball 2017 – Holly Van Noord – Women's Soccer
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