Posted on Monday, June 09, 2014
William Smith College's Olivia Zitoli '14 received her diploma last month, but she is still earning awards for her outstanding collegiate soccer career. This afternoon Liberty League Commissioner Tracy King announced that Zitoli was named the 2014 Liberty League Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Voted on by the Liberty League member institutions, the Liberty League Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards are presented to graduating student-athletes - one female and one male - who have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics and service/leadership throughout their time as student-athletes. This year's male honoree was Hobart College's Richie Bonney '14.
"Olivia Zitoli and Richie Bonney represent the very best of intercollegiate athletics and I am pleased to announce their selection as Liberty League Scholar-Athletes of the Year," King said. "Not only have Olivia and Richie excelled in their respective sports, they have achieved at the highest levels academically while also emerging as leaders on their campus. It is only fitting that we recognize the dedication and commitment that they have demonstrated to their academic and athletic pursuits during the past four years."
By virtue of her selection, Zitoli will also be the league's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.
It's the second year in a row a William Smith Heron has earned the award. Emily D'Addario '13 received the honor last year.
A first team All-American defender on the national champion William Smith soccer team, Zitoli anchored one of the stingiest defenses in NCAA Division III history. Under her leadership, the Herons posted a William Smith record 21 shutouts, just one shy of the NCAA record. The Herons notched 16 consecutive shutouts to close out the season which stands as the third longest streak in NCAA history. William Smith led the nation with a .875 shutout percentage and allowed just six goals all year.
A starter in all 24 games this season, Zitoli chipped in the game-winning goal over then No. 16 Skidmore. She was selected the Liberty League Player of the Year and unanimously voted to the all-conference first team. Zitoli garnered first team all-region honors, was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team and tabbed the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player. She was selected THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards Division III Soccer Woman of the Year and became just the second soccer player in Heron history to be named the NSCAA National Player of the Year. Zitoli was voted to the ECAC Upstate All-Star first team, the D3soccer.com All-American first team and was tabbed the D3soccer.com Defender of the Year.
In her four years on the Heron soccer team, Zitoli helped William Smith to a 75-7-8 (.878) record, posting the most wins, fewest losses and highest winning percentage for a graduation class. She chipped in three goals and an assist in 85 career games.
Zitoli was a member of the Herons' leadership group and a team representative in William Smith's partnership with Team IMPACT, a non-profit that works to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses by harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. Zitoli also excelled in the classroom. She was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-American first team and earned a spot on the Liberty League All-Academic Team three years in a row.