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Norwich Three-Sport Standout Emily Oliver Named 2019 GNAC Woman of the Year


Courtesy of Norwich Athletics Communications

Oliver to be honored at GNAC
Hall of Fame ceremony on August 7

WINTHROP, Mass. – Three-sport Norwich University standout Emily Oliver '19 (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) became the first student-athlete in school history to be named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Woman of the Year on Wednesday.

Oliver was a three-sport standout for the Cadets on the women's volleyball, women's basketball and softball teams prior to graduating this past May. The 3.94 mechanical engineering major with a pre-med track became Norwich's first student-athlete to win a conference Woman of the Year honor since the award's inception in 1991.

"I am incredibly honored to be the recipient of the GNAC Woman of the Year and humbled to be among an amazing group of women," Oliver said. "The Norwich community supported me in so many ways and allowed me to accomplish everything I could've dreamed of and much more. My deepest appreciation goes to my coaches, professors and extended Norwich family and friends for their kindness and support over the last four years. And, to my amazing parents, thank you for your continuous guidance and unconditional love."

Oliver is one of 149 conference-level winners out of a record 585 nominees across all three NCAA divisions. 

The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The NCAA will unveil its complete list of NCAA Woman of the Year nominees next week on Tuesday, August 6.

On top of serving as a tri-captain her senior year, Oliver was a major contributor on all three teams she played in.

She compiled a 10-8 record on the softball pitcher's mound with a 3.31 earned run average this past season. She also batted .348 with a home run and 13 RBI to go along with 32 hits on the season.

Overall in her softball career, she totaled 28 wins, 194 strikeouts and a 3.78 ERA in the circle. She also collected 120 hits, four home runs, 66 RBI and a .317 career batting average. Oliver earned GNAC Third Team All-Conference honors as a freshman.

As a senior on the volleyball court, she broke the program single-season assists and assists-per-set record with 754 and 7.94, respectively. She also ranks in the top-10 in program history in career totals for service aces, digs, blocks, sets played, matches played, and assists.

Oliver was also a four-year member of the women's basketball program and ranked second on the team this year, averaging 11.3 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Oliver earned her highest academic honor this past June when she was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-America third team for softball. She became Norwich's 12th CoSIDA Academic All-American in the last eight years and the 15th overall in school history.

Oliver was named the Norwich University Senior Female Athlete of the Year at the annual Senior Athlete Recognition Dinner in April. She was also presented with the Looke Award, which is given to the senior who has distinguished himself/herself athletically, academically and has displayed leadership as a civilian.

"Emily epitomized the true meaning of a 'student-athlete,'" said Norwich Director of Athletics Tony Mariano. "She won nearly every academic and athletic award available to her during her career. Emily was a true leader and someone everyone looked up to and to be the first Norwich female to receive the GNAC Woman of the Year Award culminated an outstanding career at Norwich."

Oliver won the Student Engineer of the Year Award, which is given annually by the Vermont Society of Engineers and won the Tau Beta Pi award for the engineering honors society. She also served as a peer tutor and served on the Honor Committee.  

Oliver earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in both volleyball and softball, becoming the first athlete in Norwich history to achieve that honor in multiple categories in the same academic year. Oliver was the lone representative from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) on this year's softball Academic All-American teams.

"Emily has been the definition of a student-athlete during her four-year career at Norwich," said Norwich women's basketball head coach Mark Zacher. "She has led and starred for three different varsity teams and has excelled in her classroom endeavors. I am sure that I speak for her other two coaches in saying that Emily was unique in that she was not only a very talented athlete, but also one of the smartest that I have ever coached. She was able to quickly grasp, understand, and execute what needed to be done. I am very proud to say that I recruited Emily and that I had the pleasure to coach her for four-seasons.  As a three-star athlete, team captain, and academic all-American, she has left a very unique, amazing, and strong legacy of excellence at Norwich University."

Oliver will be starting medical school at the University of Vermont this fall with the support of a U.S. Navy scholarship.

Oliver will formally be presented the GNAC Woman of the Year award on Wednesday, August 7 at the GNAC Hall of Fame dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn Logan Airport in East Boston, Mass. 

Conference-level nominations will be forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee, which will choose the top 10 honorees in each of the three NCAA divisions. The NCAA will announce the top-30 honorees on in early September.

From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three finalists in each division. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year from the nine finalists.

The 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at an awards dinner in Indianapolis on Sunday, October 20, 2019.

Oliver was one of seven finalists for this year's GNAC Woman of the Year award. The other nominees were Amanda Martin of Colby-Sawyer College women's soccer and track & field; Adele Duval of Eastern Nazarene College women's tennis; Ally Mishol of Johnson & Wales University (RI) women's basketball and softball; Carly Zdanek of Lasell College women's soccer; Mikayla Ramsdell of Rivier University field hockey and softball; and Kelsi McNamara of Saint Joseph's College of Maine women's basketball.

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 22 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience. 

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