OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – UNCG keeper Kelsey Kearney has been named one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, the organization announced Wednesday. The award celebrates excellence in the classroom, character, community and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is given in football, men's and women's soccer, men's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball, softball, men's and women's basketball and volleyball.
"The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is a tremendous honor for any collegiate athlete," UNCG coach Steve Nugent said. "We are very excited for Kelsey and the UNCG program that she is one of the finalists this year. Kelsey is very deserving of the accolades she receives. She is a tireless worker that makes everyone around her better."
Kearney, a three-time All-Southern Conference selection and a preseason pick this year, was a second-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Performance Subaru All-Southeast Region pick in 2010. One of the all-time great goalkeepers in Southern Conference history, she is already the league's career leader in goals against average with a 0.61 mark and needs just six shutouts to set the conference record in that category, as well. She is UNCG's career leader with 31 to her credit in just three years of work.
The Durham, N.C., native went 19-2-1 as the keeper of record for UNCG last season, helping the Spartans set school records for most wins and fewest losses. Kearney posted 12 shutouts, matching the single-season school record, and turned in a 0.55 GAA, the second-best in school history behind only her 0.48 effort from 2008. She was a key cog in a team that turned in a school-record 16-match winning streak and was ranked in the top 10 nationally for the first time since 1996. Last season's squad also turned in the first undefeated home slate in school history, going 9-0-0 at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
A Dean's List and Chancellor's List student, Kearney was a third-team NSCAA Women's Collegiate Scholar All-America last year and has been named Academic All-SoCon in each of her two years of eligibility for the award so far. Kearney was UNCG's 2010-11 female recipient of the Southern Conference Coleman Lew Leadership Award, an award based on leadership, academic excellence and athletic achievement in both the college environment and the community.
A four-year starter and longtime team leader, Kearney is entering her second season as a team captain. The senior has had to overcome some diversity in her career, as she injured her knee during the night before UNCG's Southern Conference Championship semifinal contest in 2009, ending her season. After surgery and six months of rehab, Kearney came back better than ever, leading UNCG to its record-breaking 2010 campaign.
Kearney has also been involved in several community service campaigns during her UNCG tenure. In addition to participated in UNCG's Relay for Life with the rest of the women's soccer team in each of her three years on the team, raising funds and walking in the event, she has also volunteered with the team at the Greensboro Youth Soccer Association's First Timers Clinic, coaching and working with children ages 4-6.
She has also been involved with the FOX8 Gifts for Kids campaign, in which gifts for needy children are collected at UNCG sporting events and UNCG student-athletes donate their time at the FOX8 Gifts for Kids warehouse assisting in the distribution of the gifts collected. Kearney has also volunteered at UNCG's pink games for women's basketball and volleyball, helping to raise awareness of breast cancer and collecting donations for research.
From the list of 30 candidates, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in early October. Those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.
Lowe's, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winners during the 2011 NCAA Women's College Cup championship, which will take place Dec. 2 and 4 in Kennesaw, Ga.
Kearney is the second Spartan in the last three seasons to be named one of the 30 national candidates for the award. Former UNCG defender Lauren Lopez was honored in 2009 and went on to become one of the 10 national finalists.
Kearney is the lone representative from the Southern Conference among the 30 national candidates and is the only student-athlete from a North Carolina school on the list.
The Spartans open the regular season Friday at the UNCG Soccer Stadium, when they host Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award candidates
Name Position School
Melanie Baskind Midfielder/Forward Harvard
Jana Basubas Midfield Lehigh
Kathleen Beljan Defender Dayton
Sidra Bonner Defender Cornell
Colleen Boyd Goalkeeper Oregon State
Kate Deines Midfield Washington
Danielle Foxhoven Forward Portland
Katy Frierson Midfielder Auburn
CoCo Goodson Defender UC Irvine
Chelsea Hatcher Midfielder/Forward Tennessee
Melissa Henderson Forward Notre Dame
Bianca Henninger Goalkeeper Santa Clara
Laura Heyboer Forward Michigan State
Tori Huster Midfielder Florida State
Mo Isom Goalkeeper LSU
Kelsey Kearney Goalkeeper UNCG
Natalie Kulla Goalkeeper Marquette
Sydney Leroux Forward UCLA
Krista Lopez Forward Oklahoma State
Paige Maxwell Forward Ohio State
Kerry McBride Defender/Midfielder Marquette
Teresa Noyola Midfield Stanford
Kelly Reinwald Midfielder Canisius
Aline Reis Goalkeeper UCF
Chandra Salmon-Christensen Defender Utah State
Casey Short Midfielder Florida State
Lizzy Simonin Defender Memphis
Jasmyne Spencer Forward Maryland
Jessica Teahan Goalkeeper Missouri State
Ingrid Wells Midfield Georgetown
- UNCG -