TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Finishing her career as a Seminole with an NCAA National Championship and a United Soccer Coaches All-American honor, Natalia Kuikka has added another accolade to her impressive season as the senior defender was named a finalist for the 2018 Honda Sport Award for women’s soccer on Tuesday.
Kuikka is one of four finalists and joins North Carolina’s Julia Ashley, Stanford’s Jordan DiBiasi and Caitlin Farrell from Georgetown.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) for the past 43 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”.
The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the United Soccer Coaches. The Honda Sport award winner for soccer will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Kuikka is the seventh FSU soccer player to be named a finalist for the Honda Award, along with Cassie Miller (2016), Dagny Brynjarsdottir (2014), Kassey Kallman (2013), Ines Juarena (2012), Mami Yamaguchi (2007) and India Trotter (2006).
Kuikka captained the Seminole defense in 2018 that allowed just 13 goals in 27 matches to post a 0. 47 goals against average on the season, which ranked fifth in the NCAA. Florida State recorded 16 shutouts on the year, including in each of the last three matches – No. 14 Penn State, No. 1 Stanford and No. 3 North Carolina – on its way to the national title.
Kuikka was named an All-American for the second time in her career and earned a spot on the All-ACC team for the third year in a row. Kuikka was also selected to the 2018 ACC All-Tournament Team and the 2018 College Cup All-Tournament Team.
Kuikka closed out her career with 79 matches played and 78 starts, tallying 29 points on nine goals and 11 assists. The majority of her scoring came as a freshman when she played in the midfield (six goals and five assists), and her offensive skills aided her defense when she would come forward. During her career, the Seminoles have tallied 54 shutouts and earned three ACC Championships.
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sport Award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Honda Cup award presented in June of 2019.
Throughout 2018-19, the Seminoles will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of women’s intercollegiate athletics at Florida State and there are many events and reunions planned for all women’s sports. Head to www.seminoles.com/50th/ for more information that will be updated throughout the year.
Follow Florida State soccer on Twitter (@FSUSoccer), Instagram (@nolesoccer) and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUSoccer) to keep up to date with everything about Seminole soccer.