Senior Vanessa DiBernardo was selected as a candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, which honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field.
Aug 21, 2013
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - University of Illinois senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo was selected as a candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, which honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. DiBernardo is one of 30 women's soccer players up for the award, which includes two other members of the Big Ten in Penn State's Maya Hayes and Michigan's Holly Hein.
DiBernardo is a two-time All-American, collecting NSCAA Second Team honors in 2011 and Third Team accolades in 2012, and has been named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List three times. She excelled immediately on the field as an Illini, beginning her career as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2010. She followed up a stellar rookie season by earning the highest Big Ten honor as the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year in 2011 while leading the Illini to its second-ever Big Ten Tournament title.
A three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, DiBernardo has led the Illini in goals each of the past three years, including a career-high 17 goals as a sophomore, which ranked second in school history. She enters her senior season ranked as the No. 3 player in the country according to Top Drawer Soccer and is on pace to set the Illinois school record for career goals scored.
A recreation, sport and tourism major with a sport management concentration, she has been recognized with several academic awards, including an NSCAA Scholar All-American, a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup championships in December.
2013 Senior CLASS Award Candidates
Brittany Anghel - Goalkeeper - Syracuse
Danielle Birdsall - Midfield/Forward - Northern Colorado
Aubrey Bledsoe - Goalkeeper - Wake Forest
Allison Brees - Defender - Northern Iowa
Amber Davis - Forward/Defender - Western Illinois
Nikola Deiter - Goalkeeper - Central Connecticut State
Vanessa DiBernardo - Midfield - Illinois
Alyssa Diggs - Forward - Missouri
Katy Dolesh - Midfield/Forward - Miami
Jonelle Filigno - Forward - Rutgers
Mariana Garcia - Forward - The Citadel
Kristen Hamilton - Forward - Denver
Maya Hayes - Forward - Penn State
Holly Hein - Defender - Michigan
Becca Hemby - Midfield - High Point
Elizabeth Hoerner - Goalkeeper - Naval Academy
Kassey Kallman - Defender - Florida State
Ally Lee - Defender - Jacksonville
Juliana Libertin - Midfield - Dayton
Kat Ludlow - Defender - Baylor
Chloe McDaniel - Defender - Cal State Northridge
Molly McGuigan - Defender - Army
Kealia Ohai - Forward - North Carolina
Emily Oliver - Goalkeeper - Stanford
Frances Silva - Forward - West Virginia
Katie Stengel - Forward - Wake Forest
Anna Stinson - Midfield - Illinois State
Chrissy Tchoula - Midfield - Western Kentucky
Renee Washington - Midfield - La Salle
Kylie Wassell - Goalkeeper - UNLV
Laura Weinberg - Forward - Duke