Jan. 24, 2006
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina senior soccer student-athlete Emily Pierce has been selected as a finalist for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Postgraduate Scholarship as announced by the organization's Region 3 committee of the Professional Development Program.
"Emily is one of the most talented student-athletes at Western Carolina University," said WCU Faculty Athletics Representative Gibbs Knotts. "She has been a star on the field, in the classroom and as an ambassador for Western. I am particularly impressed with her involvement in the national SAAC organization."
Pierce (Chattanooga, Tenn./Red Bank HS) had been recognized throughout her career for her hard work in the classroom. Along with being named the Catamount Female Student-Athlete of the month of September, she was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District III second team in 2003 and 2005. A two-time Southern Conference TIAA-CREF Fall Academic All-Conference team selection, she has managed to obtain an impressive 3.85 grade point average for her career. Pierce is majoring in Biology and wishes to continue her academic career in medical school.
Along with her outstanding academic career, Pierce had an equally as successful soccer career. She ranks as the all-time leading scorer among defenders at Western Carolina, nearly doubling her scoring output during her final season. She ranks seventh on the team in scoring with eight points, which includes three goals and two assists. This season, Pierce earned Most Valuable Player honors in Western's Niagara Women's Soccer Classic Championship, in addition to all-tournament team accolades at the Furman Select Kickoff Classic in mid-September. She concluded her senior campaign by being named second team All-Southern Conference, being just one of nine Catamounts all-time to earn the honor. Also, Pierce played a key role in Western Carolina winning to the 2005 SoCon Championship and earning its first berth to the NCAA Championship.
Along the way, the senior defender helped the Catamounts set a school record for shutout victories in a season (13), earn its first regional ranking in the Soccer Buzz Southeast Region polls (10th) and climb to ninth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas poll.
On top of her academic and athletic success, Pierce serves on both the Western Carolina and NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC).
Final selection of the scholarship recipients will be determined at the scholarship committee's Feb. 23 meeting. The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports. Each sports season (fall, winter and spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships available for women. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants.