Liberty field hockey defender, Serena Barr, and women's soccer goalkeeper, Holly Van Noord, have been nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. The two Lady Flames are two of 229 Division I student-athletes nominated for the prestigious award.
Barr put an exclamation point on her career at Liberty, tallying eight goals (second on team), 11 assists (second on team) and a team-high 27 points in the fall of 2016. The senior was named to the 2016 Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I All-America second team in December, becoming the second All-American in Liberty field hockey history.
Barr continued to pile up awards in her final season, being named to the Zag Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Scholar Athlete. The Lurgan, Northern Ireland native was the only NCAA Division I field hockey student-athlete in the country to receive the award, given to the first, second or third team All-American who maintains the highest cumulative GPA through the first semester of the 2016-17 academic year. Barr was also selected to the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® At-Large second team, becoming the first player in Liberty field hockey program history to earn the award. She graduated summa cum laude in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in public health and a perfect 4.00 GPA.
She was one of four Liberty student-athletes to earn the Big South Conference's prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence, given annually to the Big South Conference male and female student-athlete who attain the highest GPA during their college careers. Barr was named to the NFHCA All-South Region first team and garnered VaSID first team All-State distinction. Barr was also the BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year, an All-BIG EAST first team selection and BIG EAST All-Tournament team selection. She was selected, along with her sister Bethany Barr, to compete in the 2016 Victory Sports Tours/NFHCA Division I Senior Game.
Barr is not be eligible for the Big South Athlete of the Year due to the Lady Flames field hockey team competing in the Big East Conference.
In her senior campaign, Van Noord was stellar leading the Big South Conference with a 0.85 goals-against average and a .866 save percentage over 1,805 minutes between the posts. Her first of eight shutouts on the season and 34th of her career, a 1-0 blanking of James Madison on Sept. 4, set a new Big South Conference record for shutouts. In addition, the goalkeeper backstopped a school record seven consecutive shutouts by the Lady Flames and the longest winning streak in program history of eight games, this past season. Van Noord rewrote the Liberty and Big South record book during her four-year career with the women's soccer program, recording 41 shutouts.
A two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Week honoree this season, Van Noord was 14-7-0 in goal for the Lady Flames and allowed just 17 goals in net. In conference action, she allowed just four scores in 753 minutes for a 0.48 GAA. Van Noord posted a .909 saves percentage with 4.1 shutouts in nine starts.
The goalkeeper garnered five postseason awards. Van Noord was named Big South Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Big South, Big South Championship All-Tournament Team, NSCAA All-Southeast Region Second Team, VaSID All-State Second Team and Liberty's Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award recipient at the 2017 FLAMESPY.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award was established in 1991 and now enters its 27th year honoring graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
The award represents 534 nominees throughout all three NCAA divisions, with 229 from Division I, 117 from Division II and 197 from Division III. The nominees competed in 21 different women's sports, and 122 were multisport athletes during their time in college. Next, conferences will select up to two conference nominees each from the pool of school nominees. The Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will then choose the top 30 honorees — 10 from each division. From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then chooses the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year from those nine. The top 30 honorees will be recognized and the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at the annual award ceremony Oct. 22 in Indianapolis.
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