Courtesy of CNU Athletic Communications
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Christopher Newport University women's soccer midfielder Gabby Gillis was selected by the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) as the CAC candidate for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year, as announced by the organization on Tuesday afternoon.
In it's 29th year of existence, the NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service, and leadership. Every year, the NCAA encourages each member college and university to honor its top one or two graduating female student-athletes by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.
Gillis is the first Christopher Newport student-athlete to earn the CAC nomination for Woman of the Year and the first Captain to be a conference nominee since Stephanie Green (Women's Lacrosse) was a finalist for the award in 2013.
To be eligible for the award, a female student-athlete must have completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2019, graduated no later than the end of the 2019 summer term, and achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50.
Extraordinary both on and off the field throughout her tenure, Gillis wrapped up one of the finest careers in the history of CNU athletics last fall. Following a banner season while leading the Captains women's soccer program to it's first ever NCAA Division III National Semifinals appearance, Gillis was named the 2018-19 Capital Athletic Conference Female Athlete of the Year. The final campaign for one of CNU's all-time great soccer players was a memorable one from start to finish as she helped guide the Captains to a record-breaking season. A team captain for her senior season, Gillis led CNU to a near perfect season with a program-best 21-2-0 overall record including a 7-0-0 record in conference play, a third straight conference championship, and the deepest postseason run in Captains history.
While the team rolled through the 2019 season, it was due in large part to their senior leader in the midfield. Gillis earned first team All-America honors for the second straight year and went on to be named the D3soccer.com National Midfielder of the Year. She is the first Christopher Newport female student-athlete since Chelsie Schweers in 2011 to earn National Player of the Year accolades and the first in CNU soccer history.
Gillis was also pegged the Conference Player of the Year for the second straight year after another exceptional campaign offensively and defensively. She helped the Captains break the program records for points and assists in a season while also shattering the most wins in a season with 21. She became the all-time leader in games played and started, while also obliterating the previous record for consecutive games played and started in a career. She started all 85 contests in her tenure as a Captain while helping CNU women's soccer raise the bar for team success with a record 71 wins over the last four years.
Individually, the senior from Leesburg, Va. put forth the finest effort of her illustrious career by setting career-high's in every statistical category. She became just the third player in program history to score 40 points in a single season by finishing the year with 41 points on 15 goals and 11 assists. She scored three gamewinners and assisted on the historical goal against Lynchburg in the national quarterfinals that propelled the Captains into the Final Four. She had a pair of hat tricks and moved into the upper echelon of elite scorers in women's soccer history at CNU, ranking third in career points, with 96, and fourth in career goals, with 38.
While impressing on the field, Gillis was equally as dominant in the classroom and was named the United Soccer Coaches Scholar Player of the Year. A double major in Psychology and Sociology, Gillis also earned a minor in Leadership Studies. She finished her undergraduate studies with a 3.72 cumulative grade point average and was a two-time USC Scholar All-America first team selection. By the conclusion of her senior campaign, Gillis also earned VaSID Academic All-State accolades and was a repeat selection to the CAC All-Academic team.
Bolstered by her impressive swan song season, Gillis stands as the most decorated women's soccer player in program history. She was the first player to earn first team All-American accolades and went on to become the first to earn multiple All-American plaudits in her career. With Gillis holding down the middle of the field, the Captains registered just one loss in conference play over her four years, going 32-1-1 for an absurd winning percentage of 95.6%.
The top 30 honorees for NCAA Woman of the Year, 10 from each NCAA division, will be announced in early September. From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year. This season, 22 women's soccer players from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III were among the 148 total conference nominees and Gillis was one of 51 total from Division III. Gillis was one of a record 585 nominees submitted by individual schools and pared down to the 148 conference nominees.
All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2019 Woman of the Year announced, at an awards banquet in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.
Four national finalists have represented the CAC in the NCAA Woman of the Year competition since 1996, including Goucher's Michele Mohlman (1996), Mary Washington's Melissa Block(2003), Goucher's Stephanie LaGue (2005) and Salisbury's Sue Ackermann (2008).
CAC NCAA Woman of the Year Candidates
|1996||Michele Mohlman||Goucher||Field hockey/Basketball/Lacrosse||Md. state winner & national finalist|
|2003||Melissa Block||Mary Washington||Lacrosse||Va. state winner & national finalist|
|2005||Stephanie LaGue||Goucher||Swimming||Md. state winner & national finalist|
|2008||Sue Ackermann||Salisbury||Lacrosse||CAC nominee & national finalist|
|2009||Brie McDowell||St. Mary's||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2010||Nina Michelle Sawyer||Mary Washington||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2011||Sarah Stephens||Frostburg State||Volleyball/Tennis||CAC nominee|
|2012||Anna Macedonia||Marymount||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2013||Tristin Burris||Wesley||FH, XC, T&F, Soft, Lax||CAC nominee|
|2014||Katelyn Fischer||Marymount||Basketball||CAC nominee|
|2015||Christy Bishop||St. Mary's||Field Hockey/Lacrosse||CAC nominee|
|2016||Breck Sullivan||Salisbury||Field Hockey||CAC nominee|
|2017||Anna Corley||Mary Washington||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2018||Kayla Truesdel||Frostburg State||Track & Field||CAC nominee|
|2018||Kirsten Littlefield||Mary Washington||Lacrosse||CAC nominee|
|2019||Gabby Gillis||Christopher Newport||Soccer||CAC nominee|