LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky senior setter Madison Lilley has won the 2021 Honda Award for the sport of volleyball, Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) announced Tuesday evening.
She becomes the first-ever Kentucky student-athlete to win the award for most outstanding player in a sport, and UK's second-ever Honda Award winner (Arin Gilliland, 2014, Inspiration Award).
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 45 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics". The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2021 Honda Cup which will be presented on a telecast on CBS Sports Network, on June 28th, at 9 pm ET.
Lilley was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Logan Eggleston (Texas), Dana Rettke (Wisconsin) and Stephanie Samedy (Minnesota).
Lilley, an Overland Park, Kansas native, won the 2020 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year award, American Volleyball Coaches' Association award, and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament.
Lilley helped Kentucky capture its first NCAA national championship with 53 assists, and a career-high 19 digs. During the tournament, Lilley averaged 13.8 assists per set, had six aces in UK's five matches, and was second on the team with 3.35 digs per set. Lilley helped UK hit above .300 in all five matches in the Omaha bubble and put the cap on one of the most impressive individual seasons in NCAA Volleyball history.
"I first want to start off by thanking the CWSA for honoring me and for their push to make women's college athletics at the forefront of their mission. I have to start off by thanking UK Athletics for giving me the resources to compete at the highest level. The diverse set of culture, mindsets and experiences at Kentucky have given me the opportunity to truly understand what it takes to win championships at this level. I feel empowered, but also motivated to continue pushing and advocating for women's collegiate athletics. As referenced by the hundreds of thousands of people that watched the 2020 Volleyball Championship, this only motivates me even more to continue to drive home that women's sports are worthy of time and investments by all entities. I will continue to zealously push hard for the sport of volleyball to grow to unpresented heights and take our game, and women's athletics as a whole, to the next level." - Madison Lilley
"I couldn't be happier for Madison. She has accomplished so much during her career and especially this magical season ending with player of the year honors and the National Championship. To cap it off with the Honda award is amazing and all of us here at Kentucky are so proud of the way she has represented UK, Lexington, and the state." - Craig Skinner, Kentucky Head Volleyball Coach
"University of Kentucky Athletics is extremely proud to have another winner of a Honda Award, one of the most prestigious and cherished honors in collegiate athletics. Madison Lilley is deserving of this distinction in many ways. Her performance on the court speaks for itself. In addition, the way Madison leads -- with unyielding commitment to make her teammates their very best - along with her indomitable will to win, combine to make her worthy of this recognition." - Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky AD