STANFORD, Calif. – Inky Ajanaku, a redshirt senior, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Volleyball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 41 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Ajanaku becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2017 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 26, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles.
Ajanaku was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Ebony Nwanebu (Texas), Kadie Rolfzen (Nebraska) and Sarah Wilhite (Minnesota).
“I am nothing but humbled to win this award because I know that many of the people that played against me and the people that played beside me this season are all deserving of the very same recognition,” said Ajanaku. “I am proud of how our team played at the end of the season, but I am more proud of the smaller moments of strength shown when we weren’t as successful. Being a part of a team with that type of resilience is the greatest honor. So, thank you to Stanford women’s volleyball and Honda and the CWSA.”
Ajanaku, a middle blocker from Tulsa, Oklahoma, led the Cardinal to its record-tying seventh national title after being named the 2016 NCAA Final Four MOP. She is a three-time AVCA First Team All-American and is a 2016 Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American. She was also tabbed the 2016 VolleyballMag.com National Player of the Year following the championship.
A four-time All-Pac-12 Conference honoree, she led the league in blocks (192) and blocks per set (1.54) to rank fifth and sixth in the nation, respectively. She capped her career with 627 total blocks, the most in school history in the rally-scoring era.
“Inky had a truly amazing season, which she continued to build on each step of the way,” stated head coach John Dunning. “By the end, in my opinion, she was playing the best volleyball of her career, and at the same time provided the leadership our team needed to win a championship. She is a special player and very deserving of this honor.”
This is the eighth time a Stanford student-athlete received the Honda Award for the sport of volleyball, and only Ogonna Nnamani (Stanford, 2005) went on to win the Honda Cup.
Four other Honda Sport Award winners for volleyball have won the prestigious Honda Cup- Megan Hodge (Penn State, 2010), Sarah Pavan (Nebraska, 2007), Misty May (Long Beach State, 1999) and Deitre Collins (Hawaii, 1983).
The CWSA, in its 41st year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs.