NCAA WOMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: Rachel Lucia (Caldwell University)

NCAA WOMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: Rachel Lucia (Caldwell University)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (July 8, 2019) -- For four years, Rachel Lucia established herself as one of the finest women's lacrosse players in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). The Caldwell University standout twice earned major awards from the conference, including the CACC Rookie-of-the-Year award in 2016 and the defensive-player-of-the-year accolade as a sophomore in 2017. She earned First-Team All-CACC honors twice and will leave as one of the most decorated student-athletes in conference history.

Lucia's success wasn't limited to the athletic realm, as she also stood out in the classroom and through various charitable acts.

Lucia was a double major in health sciences and psychology and held a cumulative grade point average of 3.86. In her surrounding community, Lucia joined up with teammates and branched out on her own to give her time to worthy acts of kindness. Her volunteer efforts helped impact local youth athletes, young children and senior citizens.

Lucia crammed a lengthy list of accomplishments into just four years, and by doing so, she became her school's nominee for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award.


General Information
School: Caldwell University
Sport: Women's Lacrosse
Class: Senior
Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

Athletic Achievement
Freshman Season (2016): Named the CACC Rookie of the Year ... started all 15 games ... tallied 23 points with 19 goals and four assists ... totaled 42 groundballs.

Sophomore Season (2017): Named to the All-CACC First Team ... named the CACC Defensive Player of the Year ... ECAC Second-Team All-Star ... started all 16 games ... tallied 34 points on 30 goals and four assists.

Junior Season (2018): Named to the All-CACC First Team for the second season in a row ... ECAC First-Team All-Star ... ECAC Defensive Player of the Year ... started 14 games ... totaled 35 points on 28 goals and seven assists.

Senior Season (2019): Posted 14 goals and five assists for 19 points.

Academic Achievement
Majors: Health Sciences & Psychology
Cumulative GPA: 3.86
Awards: CACC Women's Lacrosse All-Academic Team (2017-19) ... 2019 Kappa Gamma Pi National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society ... 2018 Division II ADA Academic Achievement Award ... 2018 IWLCA Zag Sports Division II Academic Honor Roll ... 2018 Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology ... 2018 Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society ... 2017 National Engaged Leadership Award by NSLS ... 2016 National Society of Leadership and Success Honor Society ... 2015 Fall, 2016 Spring, 2016 Fall, 2017 Spring, 2017 Fall, 2018 Spring, 2018 Fall Dean's List honoree at Caldwell University.

Community Engagement
Cedar Grove Youth Lacrosse; Clinic run by Caldwell University Women's Lacrosse Team (2018-19): Teach young girls skills to play lacrosse. Led several drills.

Bargaintown Volunteer Fire Department: Christmas Party and Pictures with Santa (2018): Assist special needs children with decorating crafts and taking pictures with Santa.

Caldwell Day of Service (2015-2018): Clean up Grover Cleveland Park and assist workers of the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy ... Volunteer at Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Separate acceptable donations. Dispose of trash and unacceptable donations ... Pick up trash and remove invasive plant species in Essex Fells ... Volunteer at Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Separate acceptable donations. Dispose of trash and unacceptable donations.

Eastern Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (2018): Assist occupational therapist with cleaning and transporting patients to therapy gym.

Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation (2018): Interact with pediatric patients and assist occupational therapist with cleaning and putting away supplies.

Green Hill Senior Living Community (2018): Interact with geriatric patients and residents. Assist occupational therapist with cleaning and putting away supplies.

Weisman Children's Outpatient Rehabilitation Center (2018): Interact with pediatric patients and assist occupational therapist with cleaning and putting away supplies.

West Caldwell-Caldwell Recreation Department and Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy Halloween Parade (2017): Manage craft table and assist children with creating and decorating crafts.

Egg Harbor Township School District: Occupational Therapy (2017): Interact with special needs students. Assist occupational therapist with cleaning and putting away supplies.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (2016-19): Vote on NCAA legislation. Participate in community service initiatives.

Student-Athlete Mentor Program: Mentor (2016-19): Provide assistance to new studentathletes.Provide educational and emotional support to mentee.


"My experiences as a student-athlete at Caldwell University gave me the tools to positively impact others. As a freshman, I was timid; however, my timidness developed into confidence through my experiences on the women's lacrosse team. My confidence grew significantly from the encouragement and valuable lessons that my coaches provided me on and off the field. This newfound confidence helped me to become a team captain, women's lacrosse representative for SAAC, and student-athlete mentor as a sophomore. My coaches always reminded my team about the importance of perseverance and determination in the face of adversity. During my junior season, I tore my ACL and realized how essential these characteristics are to an athlete. I worked diligently in physical therapy and maintained hope, despite some setbacks along the way. The confidence that I gained from lacrosse also translated into my academic prowess, as demonstrated by my induction into four honor societies. I was awarded the NSLS National Engaged Leadership Award for my academic achievement and community service involvement. My most poignant community service involved working with special needs children at an occupational therapy facility. Their positivity and resilience inspired me and reinforced my desire to pursue a career that helps others. My experiences as a student-athlete taught me lessons that will help me to become an empathetic occupational therapist. I will strive to empower my future patients by instilling them with confidence, perseverance, and determination, so that they can use those characteristics to find success in their rehabilitation and daily lives."

Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.

Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees (that announcement will be made in late July/early August). Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.

The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.

The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), Nyack College, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.