Westwood, Mass. (July 15) -- MIT women's soccer senior Emily Berzolla (Riverside, Conn.) has been named as one of the two New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) NCAA Woman of the Year candidates, as voted on by a panel of league administrators. Berzolla was one of a record 605 institutional nominees from across the three NCAA divisions and joins senior Adora Lawrence (track and field) from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as a candidate for the Woman of the Year award from the NEWMAC this year.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
As a four-year member and 2019 captain of the MIT women's soccer team, Berzolla led the Engineers to four NEWMAC regular-season titles and three NEWMAC Tournament Championships. Her teams also appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of her four seasons, en route to an incredible overall record of 74-12-8 and a conference mark of 36-1-3. In addition, Berzolla and her senior classmates, who helped break 18 program records, never lost a game on Roberts Field as they held a record of 42-0-4 in home contests over the past four seasons.
Over the past four years, Berzolla has taken home a number of awards for her athletic and academic success while at MIT. She has been honored as a three-time College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American, a United Soccer Coaches and D3Soccer.com Second Team All-American, a United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American and a four-time NEWMAC All-Conference performer. Berzolla was also a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference selection, a four-time New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) All-Region selection, a two-time NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honoree and the 2019 NEWMAC Women's Soccer Athlete of the Year.
She was also honored with the 2019-20 Female Malcolm G. Kispert Award, which is given to the MIT Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and with the 2019 Lauren Tsai Memorial Award for Academic Excellence from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.
As an everyday midfielder for the Engineers, Berzolla produced a total of 26 goals and 40 assists for 92 points in 88 career matches. She graduated as the program record holder for most assists in a season at 16, a feat she accomplished in 2017, and ranks second all-time in career assists. In 2019, Berzolla and the MIT women's soccer team lead all of Division III in goals against average (0.162), save percentage (.941) and shutout percentage (.833). She also led the Engineers to their highest national ranking in program history as MIT was ranked as high as fifth in the United Soccer Coaches Division III poll.
Berzolla graduated this spring from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering and a grade point average of 3.92 on a 4.00 scale. She was active both on and off campus as she held a number of internships and leadership positions over the past four years. Her research opportunities included a position at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a position at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, while she also volunteered as an engineering intern at Cor Medical Ventures and at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital.
Berzolla was also active as a student teacher for the Global Teaching Lab in Spain, the Global Teaching Lab in Mexico and as a tutor for three physics courses at MIT as well as for CovEd, which aids K-12 students who are struggling to study and complete school work at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a student leader, Berzolla was a member of the MIT Alpha Phi Women's Sorority, where she helped run events including Relay for Life, the Boston POTS Walk, Cradles to Crayons and Race Cancer Super Sunday. She also was a member of Pi Tau Sigma, the mechanical engineering honor society at MIT, and was a four-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served as Co-President in 2019-20.
The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award. Conference nominations are forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee, which identifies the top 10 honorees in each of the three NCAA divisions. From those 30 honorees, the selection committee then determines the three finalists in each division for a total of nine finalists.
The Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year from the nine finalists and the winner of the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced this fall.