June 7, 2019

CSAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Samantha Bombardiere is a finalist for the Honda Inspiration Award, a national honor recognizing her courage in battling ovarian cancer.

Hackettstown, N.J., June 7, 2019 – Cyclone soccer player Samantha Bombardiere ’19, who battled ovarian cancer following her freshman year, has been named the Colonial States Athletic Conference’s (CSAC) Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year—the first Centenary female student-athlete to win the award and just the second Cyclone athlete in history.

This acknowledgement arrives on the heels of Bombardiere’s selection as one of four finalists for the 2019 Honda Inspiration Award, a national recognition for female student-athletes who have persevered through physical and emotional adversities while demonstrating athletic success. Presented by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, the final award selection will air on CBS Sports on June 24 at 8 pm. The 32nd annual inspiration award highlights collegiate female athletes across all three NCAA divisions.

After reporting pains in her back at the end of her freshman year, Bombardiere—who earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology, summa cum laude, in May — was sent for an MRI when numerous therapies proved ineffective. Doctors found a cancerous, grapefruit-sized tumor on her ovary and scheduled surgery immediately. The surgery began a vigorous recovery process for the Toms River, N.J., native, who endured chemotherapy and a break from the sport she loves. With a tremendous network of support, both on and off the field, the Division III athlete fought every day for an entire year, returning to action with the Cyclones for her junior year.

Throughout her illness and recovery, Bombardiere was a constant presence on the Cyclone sideline. As a freshman, she had appeared in 18 games, making 13 starts under head coach, Kevin Davies. “Cancer for Samantha was a temporary inconvenience in her life,” said Davies. “She took the attitude of ‘let’s get this thing over with so I can go back to normal and play my favorite sport.’ Her attitude for most of her illness was, ‘I’m going to beat this.’”

Bombardiere closed out her college career last fall by being named the CSAC’s Defensive Player of the Year after helping the Cyclone defense post eight shutouts in conference play. The Cyclones set the school record for single-season shutouts with 12, and went on to win their first conference championship since 2010, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

The dedicated student-athlete is just as talented in the classroom. During her sophomore year, Bombardiere was eligible for a medical hardship waiver, which allowed her to maintain her strong academic standing. Despite her health issues, she maintained a 3.92 GPA and graduated on time with the Class of 2019. She also earned the Stutzman Prize, an award presented by Centenary University to students who demonstrate academic aptitude and commitment to the field of science.


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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