To be eligible for the award, Hoffman had to be an NCAA Division I senior and have worthy accomplishments in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s 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.
Halfway through the season, the list of candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists. The 10 candidates will then be placed on the official ballot, which will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans who will choose one finalist. The winner of the award will be announced during the 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship, which will be played Dec. 15 and 17 in San Antonio.
“I think it’s an honor for her to be considered in this class of student-athletes,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “The award stands for success in all phases, not only the court but in the classroom and community. She is the true definition of that, and has been during her whole time here at NIU.”
In the classroom, Hoffman is as good as she is on the court. The history major with a cumulative 3.97 GPA became NIU’s first ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2010 and has been named to the Academic All-MAC Team in each of the past two years.
As the leader of the Huskies on and off the court, Hoffman has displayed her solid character as she battled injuries and split time in each of her first two seasons before emerging as the full-time setter last year. Her hard work and continued dedication to the program allowed her to emerge as a first team All-MAC selection and Academic All-American.
Another definitive aspect of Hoffman’s character is her dedication to keeping her best friend’s legacy alive after her former club teammate succumbed to cancer. She does this through volleyball, community involvement, and by continually spending time with her best friend’s family.
In the community, the Batavia, Ill., native is one of the most involved Huskies to come through the program. Hoffman has been a mainstay in the community since Day One.
The 2009 NIU Female Community Service Award recipient is an active member in Students Today Leaders Forever and over the past two years has led NIU Volleyball’s Relay for Life team to raise more than $3,500 for the American Cancer Society. Hoffman also spends time reading to children at local schools, helping out at local food shelters.
Competitively, even though she split time in her first two seasons, Hoffman has been a rallying figure for the Huskies as her competitive, fiery spirit and natural yearning to win help elevate the play of her teammates.
Once she took over as the full-time setter last year, the Huskies erupted for a 27-win season as Hoffman ran one of the nation’s top offenses. In 2010, she ranked 17th in the country with 11.51 assists per set and climbed up to seventh on the NIU all-time assists list. She also tallied career highs in kills (53), aces (28), digs (260) and blocks (35). As a result, she was named to the All-MAC first team and garnered an ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-American selection.
Hoffman and the Huskies kick off the 2011 season at noon today against IUPUI as part of the annual NIU Invitational, which also features Cincinnati, No. 14 Northern Iowa and No. 18 Iowa State.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.