The Woman of the Year award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership. Smolinski is recognized as one of 166 Division III nominees.
Smolinski is also one of seven student-athletes from the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) to be nominated, joining Talia Fish from Clark University, Christy Rogers from MIT, Kristina Weld of Mount Holyoke College, Rosa Drummond of Smith College, Leslie Leong of Wellesley College and Ashante Little of Wheaton College to represent the NEWMAC.
This year, Smolinski was chosen as the Capital One Academic All-American® of the Year for Division III Women’s Volleyball, an award which is indicative of the top player in the nation, in terms of both athletic and academic accomplishment. She is a three-time New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Academic All-Conference honoree, a two-time Capital One Academic All-District® choice, and followed up last year’s Capital One/CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America® selection with First Team Academic All-America® honors this season.
During her time at Springfield College, Smolinski led the Pride to unprecedented success for the program on the national level. Springfield has made four consecutive trips to the NCAA Division III Championship, and won NEWMAC Championships in both 2011 and 2013. A four-time NEWMAC All-Conference honoree, including three-first team selections, Smolinski capped off her career by earning NEWMAC Athlete of the Year honors this season. In addition, she became the first player in the program’s Division III history and just the second player overall to repeat as an AVCA All-American after receiving second-team accolades the past two campaigns.
Smolinski was previously recognized on a national level for her success both on and off the court when the Pride advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Elite Eight in 2011 in St. Louis. While there, she was given the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.
In her four seasons in Maroon and White, Smolinski led Springfield to a 118-22 record, totaling 1,556 kills and 1,355 digs, both of which totals rank in the top five in program history.
In the community, Smolinski participated in a math-tutoring program for local schools called "Digging for Numbers," was a member of the SAAC Committee and participated in both Special Olympics and National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
In its 24th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year award acknowledges a nominee from each member institution. Each conference then selects up to two women from the nominees to represent the conference. The Woman of the Year selection committee then selects the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.
From the top 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three in each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote from the finalist pool to determine the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year this fall.
The top 30 honorees will be recognized with the 2014 Woman of the Year announcement at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 19.