LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In exclusive voting by the senior woman administrators of the conference, Rachel Thibodeau of Southwestern University has been selected as the 2013 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Woman of the Year. By earning this honor, Thobodeau will be designated as the conference's nominee for the 23rd annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Thibodeau is the first student-athlete from Southwestern University to earn the SCAC Woman of the Year honor. A Psychology Major and the owner of a perfect 4.00 grade-point average, she received a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in the fall – the only SCAC student-athlete to be selected during the fall sports period and one of just 58 total recipients. She was also honored as a Phi Beta Kappa inductee and was a Capital One Academic All-America® First Team honoree this fall.
A native of Richardson, Texas, Thibodeau was a First Team All-SCAC volleyball student-athlete her junior and senior seasons, culminating with her selection as SCAC Player of the Year and a Third Team AVCA All-American this season. She was an Honorable Mention All-American selection in 2011.
Thibodeau posted 392 kills (second in the SCAC) and 351 digs during the 2012 campaign, and her efforts helped lead the Pirates to a 24-12 record and an NCAA tournament berth – the eighth consecutive postseason trip for the program.
"Rachel epitomizes a true Division III student-athlete," said Southwestern head volleyball coach Hannah Long. "I'm proud that her drive in the classroom and on the court has been recognized recently with the NCAA Postgraduate scholarship and now by the conference as the SCAC Woman of the Year. Beyond the easily recognizable GPA and game statistics, Rachel is a great leader and teammate. I've enjoyed coaching her for four years and she will definitely be missed."
Thibodeau ended her four-year career with the Pirates with 1,249 kills and 1,350 digs and currently holds three SU single-match records. She was a member of the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team in 2010 and 2011.
In addition to her successes on the court and her studies in the classroom, Thibodeau filled her little spare time with various campus and community service activities. While at Southwestern she served as President of Psi Chi, a Psychology National Honor Society, was Vice-President of Alpha Chi National Honor Society and Secretary of Sigma Phi Lambda Christian Sorority. She was also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership society, and served as a teaching assistant within the Southwestern University Department of Psychology. Additionally, she was a SU Peer Mentor and was a summer intern for four years at the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health where she was the lead author on a research publication in 2012.
Away from campus, Thibodeau served as an adult volunteer with King of Glory Youth Group and also volunteered with Relay for Life, Angel Tree, a Week of Hope and Special Olympics. In addition, Thibodeau has worked as a volleyball mentor and as a camp counselor – both at Southwestern and at Canyon Vista Middle School. She has served as a Science mentor and an English tutor and has also volunteered with children in the Greater Georgetown community through a local wellness program.
"One of the most important lessons I have learned as a student-athlete is that when faced with a challenge, it is selfish to fear the situation, leading you to hold back all you have to offer," said Thibodeau. "When I came to this realization, I began to selflessly face rather than fear the challenges set before me. In doing so, I found myself achieving more and felt I was better able to reach out to others through leadership and community service which are inherently challenging."
As the SCAC Woman of the Year winner, Thibodeau will 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.
Ruth Hahn of Trinity University (swimming & diving) was the other nominee considered for SCAC Woman of the Year.
The conference nominee 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 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced at a dinner in Indianapolis, on October 20, 2013.
Last year, Rhodes College's Sharwil Bell became the second consecutive and third overall SCAC Woman of the Year honoree selected as a Top 30 honoree. Trinity University's Hayley Emerick became the league's second-ever top nine finalist in 2011. Trinity's Christyn Schuman was the first SCAC top-nine finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award in 2006.
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 athletics 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.
To read about past winners of the SCAC Woman-of-the-Year award, click here.
September 18, 2013 Button, Thibodeau Selected as 2013 Kassen/Lowry Athletes-of-the-Year
July 18, 2013 Change in Clinic Schedule
June 13, 2013 Thibodeau Selected SCAC Woman of the Year
March 19, 2013 Thibodeau Earns Coveted NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
January 22, 2013 SCAC Has 338 Student-Athletes Earn Academic Honor Roll Honors
December 11, 2012 Thibodeau Earns First Team Academic All-America Honors
November 28, 2012 SCAC Announces 2012 Fall All-Sportsmanship Team
November 14, 2012 Thibodeau Earns All-America Honor
November 12, 2012 Honors Continue for Thibodeau; Earns Academic All-District Honors
November 9, 2012 Pirates End Season with 3-1 Loss in NCAA Tournament
November 8, 2012 Thibodeau Announced as Member of All-South Region Team
November 5, 2012 Volleyball Earns National Tournament Berth
November 3, 2012 Volleyball Takes Third with 3-0 Win over Austin
November 2, 2012 Pirates Fall From SCAC Tourney After Opening Round Win
November 1, 2012 Volleyball Faces Centenary in Opening Round of SCAC Championship
October 30, 2012 Lentz Earns Second SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week Honor
October 27, 2012 Volleyball Ends Regular Season with Pair of Wins on Senior Day
October 21, 2012 Volleyball Closes Out SCAC Regular Season Action
October 20, 2012 Volleyball Splits Day One of SCAC Divisional II
October 14, 2012 #23 Volleyball Goes 3-1 in Boston
October 12, 2012 Pirates Lead Nation in Digs Per Set
October 8, 2012 Errors Plague Pirates in Weekend SCAC Action
October 3, 2012 Volleyball Gives D-II St. Edward's Run for their Moneay
September 25, 2012 Lentz Named SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week
September 25, 2012 Pirates Swat Yellow Jackets in Non-Conference Play
September 22, 2012 Pirates Ace Opponents for SCAC Sweep
September 21, 2012 Hustle Plays Fuel Pirate Win in Conference Opener
September 15, 2012 Volleyball Sweeps Matches on Day Two at Trinity
September 11, 2012 Strickland Announced as SCAC Volleyball Offensive Player-of-the-Week
September 10, 2012 Pirates Dominate in Sherman
September 3, 2012 Offense Stalls as Pirates Open Season
August 27, 2012 New Faces, Same Expectations
August 15, 2012 Volleyball Set to Open Practice with #19 National Ranking