Dec. 7, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former Aggie standout and 2005 Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Stacy Sykora has been named the USA Volleyball Indoor Female Athlete of the Year for 2010 and has been nominated for the United States Olympic Committee SportsWoman of the Year, USA Volleyball announced.
Sykora, a three-time Olympian with the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team, capped her season by earning Best Libero at the FIVB Women's World Championship in which the U.S. finished fourth. The Burleson, Texas, native averaged 7.13 digs and excellent receptions per set at the World Championship, which was 0.93 higher than the second-place finisher in the category. In addition, Sykora produced 4.85 digs per set in the World Championship to lead the Best Digger category by over 1.30 digs per set than the second-best digger.
"What an honor," Sykora said in the statement released by USAV. "First and foremost, I would like to thank USA Volleyball for putting up with me all of these years. I honestly believe that individual awards can never be achieved without a great support system. I have been fortunate enough to have had great teammates, coaches, family and friends aside me down this long journey of a career. I feel very honored to be named USA Volleyball SportsWoman of the Year. Thank you very much."
"Stacy had a great season this year," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) added. "She works hard, she's a great competitor, and she makes those around her better. She's becoming the complete package."
Sykora, 33, played a key role in propelling the U.S. to the gold medal at the FIVB World Grand Prix held in August. She averaged 2.26 digs per set during five matches played in the Final Round in which the Americans extended their win streak to 11 matches. For the tournament, Sykora aided the U.S. to an overall .300 hitting efficiency in 14 matches and was ranked as the third-best libero.
At the Pan American Cup played in June, Sykora served as the team's libero in six of the seven matches leading to a bronze medal. She averaged 3.32 digs per set helping the team to a .333 hitting efficiency.
For the 2010 season, Sykora played in 115 sets and made 31 match starts. According to unofficial DataVolley statistics, she compiled 449 digs for a 3.90 average for the season.
A&M's first varsity athlete to compete in three Olympics, Sykora was an outside hitter for the Aggies from 1995-98. The dynamic athlete, who also lettered one year in both track and field and basketball, earned AVCA All-America honors in her final two seasons and joined the national team in January 1999, one month after completing a stellar four-year collegiate career.
Sykora quickly established herself as one of the best liberos in the world and played in her first Olympics at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, where the libero position was making its Olympic debut. Sykora helped 10th-ranked USA to a better-than-expected fourth-place finish, narrowly missing out on a medal.
After helping USA reach a No. 1 world ranking, Sykora made her second Olympic team in 2004 and was named "Best Digger" at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The top-ranked Americans, however, had finished in a disappointing fifth place.
Devastated by USA's early exit, Sykora contemplated retirement. She stepped away from the game for nearly three years only to return in September 2007 and help the Americans qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games by finishing third at the 2007 FIVB World Cup. Sykora and her teammates went on to win the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, marking only the second time USA had won silver in volleyball in Olympic Games history and equaling the 1984 team for best finish. Laurie (Flachmeier) Corbelli, Sykora's coach at Texas A&M, was a member of that 1984 team, and Sykora still dons the No. 5 USA jersey in honor of Corbelli.
The USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman, Team and Paralympian of the Year awards, presented annually to the top overall male and female athlete from within the USOC member organizations, are expected to be announced in January. Winners are selected from the individual female and male athlete of the year and team of the year nominations of the USOC and National Governing Bodies for the Olympic, Pan American, Affiliated and Disabled Sports Organizations within the U.S. Olympic Movement.