High Point, N.C.- Limestone College’s Nikki Eno and the University of Mount Olive’s Francesca Ceppi have been selected as the Conference Carolinas Honorees for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Both student-athletes embody the NCAA award which recognizes excellence in leadership, athletics, academics and service.
After being a part of a record 480 school nominees from 18 different sports spanning all three divisions, Eno and Ceppi were among a record 147 NCAA female student-athletes to be named as 2015 Woman of the Year conference honorees. Of those recognized, 57 honorees competed in Division I, 39 competed in Division II and 51 competed in Division III.
Nikki Eno is the third Limestone student-athlete to be an honoree for the prestigious award, joining women's soccer standout Ashley Alderin-Fleagle in 2012 and women's basketball great Tia Williams in 2013. The Saints have earned three conference honorees over the past four seasons.
A four-year member of the Limestone women's volleyball team, Eno played in eight matches this past season due to injury. She played 28 sets, posting a total of 19 blocks and 14 kills before injury derailed the remainder of her senior season.
Although she missed most of the 2014 campaign on the court, she provided invaluable leadership on the sidelines as a young Limestone team rallied from an 0-11 start to finish the season with a 16-16 overall record and a 13-3 mark in Conference Carolinas. During that stretch, the Saints set the program record with an 18-set win streak and won 40-of-48 sets at one point to reach the Conference Carolinas Semifinals for a second straight year.
Eno, a two-time Academic All-Conference Carolinas selection, has been just as successful in the classroom. She was named Limestone's W.B. and Louise Phifer Camp Academic Award winner, an award presented to the graduating senior with the highest grade point average who demonstrates worthy character and leadership ability.
She was also named Limestone's Outstanding Biology Award winner as a senior, and was inducted into the Alpha Chi Honors Society. Eno was presented with Limestone's Scholar Athlete Award for maintaining the highest grade point average and has been named to the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll every semester during her time with the Blue and Gold.
Eno graduated summa cum laude from Limestone with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Professional Biology this past May. She maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA during her four years at Limestone. She will begin medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham this fall.
University of Mount Olive’s Francesca Ceppi was also the recipient of the 2014-15 Conference Carolinas Murphy Osborne Award, the most prestigious individual award in the conference. Like the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, the Murphy Osborne Award recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and service and leadership. Ceppi is only the second UMO student-athlete to win the Murphy Osborne Award.
A senior from Caracas, Venezuela, Ceppi graduated in May with a 3.84 grade point average majoring in psychology. She was named the 2015 Conference Carolinas Women's Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Ceppi represented Conference Carolinas and Mount Olive on the NCAA National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in each of the last two years.
On the court, Ceppi earned All-Conference Carolinas honors in each of her four years at Mount Olive. She was named to the First Team in 2015. Ceppi played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, and holds school records for most singles and doubles wins in conference play in a season. Her 31 career conference singles wins are the second most in school history, just two wins shy of the school record.
Ceppi’s selection marks the ninth time in the last ten years at least one Mount Olive student-athlete has represented Conference Carolinas for the award.
In 2008, UMO women's volleyball/women's track and field student-athlete Samantha Mitchell was among the nine national finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Mitchell also won the Murphy Osborne Award that year.
The Woman of the Year selection committee will next select the top 10 honorees in each division. These top 30 honorees will be announced in early September. The selection committee will then choose and announce the top nine finalists (three from each division) at the end of September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote from amongst those nine finalists to determine the 2015 Woman of the Year.
The top 30 honorees will be honored and the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Oct. 18.
Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 12 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, Pfeiffer University, and Southern Wesleyan University. Emmanuel College and Southern Wesleyan University are currently completing the NCAA DII membership process and will be fully competing in league championships in the near future.