By Jean DePlacido
---- — Bridget Dullea of Peabody has been nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Salem State University’s reigning Female Athlete of the Year, Dullea starred in both basketball and lacrosse for the Vikings. The former Bishop Fenwick star was a standout in both while also earning excellent grades in the classroom.
When a letter from the NCAA recently arrived in her mail, Dullea was surprised. She had never heard of the award, which was established in 1991 to celebrate the achievements of women in intercollegiate athletics. It recognizes not only athletic but also academic, leadership and community service accomplishments. Nominees must have earned a varsity letter in an NCAA sport and completed eligibility in their primary athletic activity.
“It was a big shock when the letter came,” said Dullea. “I had never heard of the Woman of the Year Award, but I looked it up online and was impressed. It’s a big honor, and I got a nice certificate from the NCAA saying I had been nominated.
“I knew there was something I was being considered for because I had to fill out an application at Salem State, but until I researched it I didn’t know anything about it.”
This year marks the 22nd time that the NCAA Female Athlete of the Year will be presented. In all, 455 women were nominated, with 214 of those coming from Division 1 schools, 90 from Division 2 institutions and 151 from Division 3 schools. From that initial number, 30 women (10 from each collegiate division) will be announced, then cut to nine (3 finalists from each division) before the recipient is announced in October.
Last year Elizabeth Phillips, a seven time All-American from Washington University in St. Louis, was the winner.
Dullea captained the Vikings’ basketball team last winter, then changed gears and was the MASCAC’s Most Valuable Player in lacrosse, her primary sport. She also earned team MVP honors in both sports.
This past spring, Dullea led the conference in points per game (5.29), goals per game (4.43), caused turnovers (2.86) and finished with 62 goals in 14 lacrosse games. She was also second on the team in ground balls (4.57) and third in draw controls (3.93).
Having transferred to Salem State from Converse College in South Carolina (where she led NCAA Division 2 in goals per game as a freshman in 2010), Dullea has a few credits remaining before graduating. She hopes to teach physical education and coach.
“I’m playing in a summer lacrosse league at Harvard with a bunch of girls from Salem State,” said Dullea.
“My parents are so excited about this award — and I am, too. I’m so glad I transferred to Salem State. I love it there and I’ve met so many great people.
“It would be nice to make the next cut,” she added, “but even if I don’t I’m still thrilled to be considered.”