Austin College’s Shelby Eaves has been selected as the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Co-Woman of the Year for the 2013-2014 academic year, the league office has announced. This is the highest individual honor given annually by the SCAC.
This marks the first time an Austin College student-athlete has earned this award, which is given annually to graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service, and leadership. Eaves, along with co-winner Lilly Duarte of Southwestern University, will now be nominated for the 24th Annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
A four-year letter winner and starter for the volleyball team, Eaves broke the Austin College record for kills in a career and finished among the national leaders in kills-per-set and total kills this past season. She was a two-time First Team All-SCAC selection, an All-Region pick, and was an Honorable Mention All-America selection.
An outside hitter from Farmersville, Eaves led the SCAC and ranked seventh in the nation in kills-per-set on the year, averaging 4.57 with 704 total kills this season. That number is the second highest single season kill total in Austin College volleyball history. She also set a new program record for career kills this season, and finished her career with the fourth best career kill total in SCAC history.
Eaves, who graduated this past May with 3.85 in Psychology and was honored as a First Team Academic All-Region selection, appreciates the experiences that being a student-athlete has provided.
"Although I felt like a defined individual before I came to college, I have completely grown as an individual while at Austin College," said Eaves. "In the classroom, I was challenged to be a well-rounded student and more importantly, an individual. As an athlete, I was challenged each and every day to never settle. As a leader, especially in volleyball, I was challenged to lead by more than example and I slowly learned to embrace that throughout my career."
Service away from campus was equally important to Eaves.
"My church encouraged me to engage those around me and serve them daily,” continued Eaves. "My school encouraged me to serve the community around me through helping out at a women's shelter, after school programs for students, Special Olympics and more and I found so much joy in loving those around me. These experiences and more importantly these people, have taught me to go beyond my little bubble, embrace opportunities given every day, and most importantly love and serve those around me."
In May, Eaves received the Gene Day Female Athlete of the Year award - the highest honor bestowed upon an Austin College senior female student-athlete.
As SCAC co-winners, Duarte and Eaves will both be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
All conference nominees will be forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee. The selection committee will choose the top 10 nominees in each division. From among those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced at a dinner in Indianapolis, on October 19, 2014.
In conjunction with the changes in the nomination process for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Woman of the Year award was established for the 2005-06 athletic season. Beginning in 2006, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) started receiving conference-designated nominees in lieu of the previous institution- and state-based nomination format.
From 1991 to 2005, each state had a woman of the year honoree and from that group 10 finalists were selected. From the top-10 finalists, the national winner was then chosen. Since 2006, each conference and independent school forwards nominations to the NCAA.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.