CWSA Release

NEWARK, Del. – The stats proved it all season long and now Greta Nauck (Krefeld, Germany/Gymnasium am Moltekeplatz) can officially say she is the nation’s best collegiate field hockey player.

The Blue Hens sophomore was named Thursday for the Honda Sport Award winner for Field Hockey, as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).

Nauck joins basketball All-American Elena Delle Donne ’13 as the University of Delaware’s lone recipients of the Honda Sport Award, which is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.”  Delle Donne won the Honda Sport Award for women’s basketball following her senior season in 2012-13.

With this honor, Nauck becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2017 Honda Cup, which will be presented on a live telecast on the CBS Sports Network on June 26, 2017 from downtown Los Angeles.

Nauck was chosen for the award based on voting by administrators from more than 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.

Please see below for comments from Nauck, head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof and CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio.

Nauck led the Blue Hens to the first National Championship in program history while Delaware finished the year with a 19-game winning streak and an overall mark of 23-2.

The NFHCA All-Mid Atlantic Region Player of the Year and CAA Player of the Year finished the season first nationally with 3.04 points per game and 1.32 goals per game on a school record 76 points and 33 goals. In just two seasons for Delaware, the midfielder is seventh in program history with 103 career points on 44 goals and 15 assists.

Nauck tallied the game-winning goal in 10 of UD’s 23 victories and came through in the clutch in two huge NCAA Tournament wins.  First, she posted the overtime game-winner in a 3-2 victory at No. 1 Duke in the second round of the tournament before registering the National Championship’s game-winning goal with under six minutes to play for the 3-2 win over North Carolina in the title game.

Other nominees for this year’s honor included Paula Heuser (Albany), Welma Luus (Maryland) and Charlotte Veitner (Connecticut). The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA).

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.

Delaware Sophomore Midfielder Greta Nauck
“I am totally speechless. It is a huge honor for me to receive the Honda Sport Award for field hockey and I would like to thank everybody who voted for me. Delaware’s 2016 season was an incredible journey. The hard work, commitment and support of an amazing team allowed me to immensely grow throughout the season - on and off the field. I had 23 teammates that challenged and supported me every day for the last few months, which helped me so much to become the player and person I am today. It is a joy and privilege to work and to play together with a group of close friends, who are eager to always help each other, to grow together and to achieve goals we have set together.

Receiving the Honda Sport Award has never been my personal goal; just through my incredible team it has become possible.

Moreover, the coaching staff with Rolf van de Kerkhof as our head coach has done an unbelievably great job in providing me with the assistance I needed in order to become the best player I can be. 

I remember very well the end of my freshman season when Rolf stood with me in front of a banner next to the field hockey and women’s basketball offices that shows the Honda Sport Award winner Elena Delle Donne. He told me that he believes in me and that I would have the potential to win the award as well. Although I appreciated his trust a lot, I did not truly consider my ability of winning the award. To be honored by the CWSA in receiving the Honda Sport award only one year later is extremely meaningful. It shows the successful work relationship between a head coach and his student-athlete.

It is a great pleasure to be part of the University of Delaware, which has become a true family to me. The support we received as a team from all our fans, fellow students and community members during the entire season was absolutely amazing. I feel so much pride to be able to represent my school as a player on the field, as a student in the classroom and as a person in the community.

Upon acceptance of the Honda Sport Award, my name will forever be associated with it. However, I want to emphasize that for me also some other names from the University of Delaware need to be associated with the award as well.”

Delaware Head Coach Rolf van de Kerkhof
“Congratulations Greta Nauck! What a joy it was for me to share with Greta and her family the announcement that she is the 2016 Honda Sport Award winner for field hockey. Even better to see was her initial reaction and more emotions throughout our conversation as it registered she just won the highest individual award in all of NCAA Division I field hockey. A year ago, Greta and I stood in front of the banner in the Bob Carpenter Center that honors Elena Delle Donne and her women’s basketball Honda Award selection and mentioned, “Why not you?” I know it was never a goal for Greta to focus in on this award, which is something that showed me she was a true team player and focused on team-first. Of course I hoped that Elena’s story could provide her with extra motivation and desire to become better throughout the 2016 season.

Greta winning the Honda Sport Award in a way has many similarities with our team winning the National Championship. Both were never the goal or focus, but have become reality as our student-athletes did focus on getting better individually and as a team throughout our season. They allowed the process and our performances to determine the level of our accomplishments and successes.

In a way it is hard for me to describe how I feel about Greta winning the Honda Sport Award as I don’t know where to start because of being so excited, happy and proud of her, this team, our program and our university. Knowing that more than 1,000 NCAA administrators voted Greta to be the recipient of this award confirms what the Blue Hens already knew, but now will be shared with the entire sports community nationwide.

Let me leave you with this: Greta, thank you for being true to yourself and focusing on what is really important in a team sport and in life: to work hard every day in becoming a better student, athlete, leader, teammate and person for yourself and for Delaware field hockey. Also, thank you for representing the University of Delaware the way you have and for sharing the joy with other Blue Hens in dreaming big and working hard to make those dreams come true! Hard work pays off… team work pays off and is more fun as you get to share and celebrate with others!”

CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio
“On behalf of the entire CAA family I congratulate Greta on winning the 2016 Honda Sport Award for field hockey.  This has truly been a very special year for the Delaware field hockey program under the leadership of head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof.  For the year to culminate with Greta winning this award, and for her to be able to celebrate this tremendous individual accomplishment wrapped around the success that her team has already achieved, is a moment that will live forever in the history of Delaware athletics and our conference.     

DELAWARE MEDIA CONTACT: Maggie Hayon, Assistant Sports Information Director | mhayon@udel.edu | O: 302-831-6389 | C: 302-379-9182

CWSA MEDIA CONTACT: AnnMarie Person | amp.cwsa@gmail.com | 267-566-8957