UNC’s Erin Matson named Honda Sport Award winner for field hockey

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics.

Erin Matson, a sophomore forward from the University of North Carolina, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Field Hockey as announced today by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).

The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 44 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics".  With this honor, Matson becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious Class of 2020 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 22, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles.

Matson was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Svea Boker (UConn), Clara Roth (Princeton) and Mercedes Pastor (Louisville).

"Winning the Honda Sport Award is such an honor, and I'm extremely grateful to have even been nominated, "said Matson. "The award means so much to me because it's another opportunity for me to represent my family, my University, my team, and all of the people that love the sport just as much as I do. I'm so fortunate to have an outstanding circle of people supporting me, and I could not have won this award without them."

Matson is a sophomore hailing from Chadds Ford, Pa., and was most recently honored as the 2019 National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Player of the Year after leading the Tar Heels to a 23-0 season the culminated in a NCAA Championship.  

The Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year and First Point USA/NFHCA South Region Player of the Year, led the nation in points and goals per game in 2019. She finished her sophomore season with 33 goals, 15 assists, and 81 points, helping the Tar Heels to their second-consecutive undefeated season. She was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and last week was named to the All-America first-team for the second year in a row.

So far in her career, Matson has been part of two NCAA Championships, two ACC regular-season championships, and two ACC Tournament championships and has yet to lose a game as a Tar Heel.

This is the second straight year a field hockey player from North Carolina was named a Honda Award finalist after Ashley Hoffman earned the honor for the Class of 2019.

 "I could not be prouder of Erin Matson for this outstanding achievement," said head coach Karen Shelton. "She's one of the most mature and complete players that I have had the privilege of coaching. She has an uncanny ability to see the space, whether it's a passing lane or the corner of the goal, and she initiates attack by aggressive pressing and a fantastic work ethic."

"She's so deserving of the Honda Sport Award, and in winning it she joins an impressive list of Tar Heel recipients who have earned this amazing distinction."

Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.

The CWSA, in its 44th 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 $3.4 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs at the institutions. 

About Honda Corporate Social Responsibility

Honda also is committed to making positive contributions to the communities where it does business, conducting socially responsible business practices and promoting diversity in its workforce. From Honda's involvement in STEM education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to its support of pediatric brain tumor research and volunteer efforts by Honda associates, including environmental clean-up activities, Honda believes in giving back to the communities where its associates live and work.

Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/.

This article originally appeared on collegiatewomensportsawards.com on December 23, 2019.