Taviot Jackowski Named One of Two NEAC Inspirational Award Winners

Taviot Jackowski Named One of Two NEAC Inspirational Award Winners

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Women's volleyball and lacrosse standout Taviot Jackowski (LaFayette, N.Y. / LaFayette) has been named a recipient of the NEAC Inspirational Award. Jackowski, who was a senior last year and is currently working on getting her MBA from SUNYIT, received the award last week along with Penn State Abington senior Phil Curry.

Jackowski rebounded from a season-ending injury during the 2012-13 season to lead the women's volleyball team to its best-ever season the following year (2013-14), in which the team finished 29-5 and recorded an incredible 24-match winning streak.

The text from the NEAC press release pertaining to Jackowski is reprinted below. To view the entire NEAC press release, click here.


Excerpt reprinted courtesy of Eugenio Mercurio at neacsports.com

NEAC Proud to Announce its 2013-14 Sportsmanship and Inspirational Award Winners

Taviot Jackowski, Grad., SUNY Institute of Technology, Women's Volleyball and Women's Lacrosse

Taviot Jackowski, a graduate student and two-sport athlete at SUNY Institute of Technology, also receives this year's NEAC Inspirational Award after overcoming a devastating injury. 

Jackowski, who plays volleyball and lacrosse for the Wildcats, was on pace to graduate from SUNYIT in just three years with a degree in accounting as she entered the 2012-13 academic year.  That year also marked her third season as the setter for the women's volleyball team, where she was off to another strong season.  However, with seven matches to go, Jackowski would unfortunately suffer a torn ACL and be lost for the rest of that fall season.  The devastating injury had an instant impact on the women's volleyball squad, as they would lose those final seven matches and ultimately suffer one of their worst seasons ever at 12-22 overall. 

She went on to graduate as planned that spring, but Jackowski was determined to not let her injury deter her from playing the sports she loved.  Thus, she decided to pursue an MBA at SUNYIT in part to be able to use her final year of NCAA eligibility for both volleyball and lacrosse, so she continued to rehab and strengthen her knee in time to return for the fall season.  She did that and more, leading the women's volleyball team to its greatest season ever with a 29-5 overall record, which included a win streak of 24 straight matches that was the nation's longest active streak when it ended.  The squad also took home a share of the NEAC Regular Season Championship behind the remarkable comeback of Jackowski, whose efforts landed her on the NEAC All-Conference First Team for the first time in her four-year career after she was second in the conference in assists per game (9.08) for the season. 

Playing two sports is hard enough for anyone in college, but doing so under a year removed from such a major injury was a true sign of Jackowski's dedication as a student-athlete.  Although her tireless work ethic allowed her to return to the lacrosse field the spring following the injury, it was in a noticeably diminished capacity and not the way she wanted to go out.  So, as was the case for volleyball, her countless hours spent during the rehabilitation process also allowed her to return to the lacrosse field better than ever this past spring, where she started in all 13 Wildcat contests and shared the team lead for assists (11) while placing second in draw controls (39).  Her stellar play landed her on the NEAC All-Conference Third Team and helped vault the Wildcats to the playoffs with a 5-4 conference record. 

Her tremendous work ethic was seen in the classroom as well.  In addition to graduating early and currently being on pace to complete her MBA ahead of schedule, Jackowski has been a receipt of the SUNY Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award, which recognizes a combination of academic excellence and outstanding athletic achievement at the Division I, Division III, and NJCAA levels.  She was also a four-time selection as a NEAC Scholar-Athlete, which requires a combined two-semester GPA of at least 3.4 each year. 

She also found time to be highly involved with the Wildcats' SAAC group despite her busy schedule, participating in many of the organization's initiatives throughout the year that included the Special Olympics bowling event that occurred on one of her few off days during the lacrosse season.  These commitments did not go unnoticed on campus. 

"As a Co-SAAC advisor at SUNYIT, I have had multiple opportunities to work with Taviot off the court," said SUNYIT sports information director Dan Benz.  "It is both satisfying and inspiring to see an athlete who has already done so much for SUNYIT, and who has many substantial time commitments, continue to make time to do the little things that make a difference on our campus and in our community.  She has been a pleasure to work with over the last four years, and the entire SUNYIT family was delighted to see her come back from such a difficult injury and have the success – and the ending to her SUNYIT career – that she so richly deserved."

The North Eastern Athletic Conference has twelve NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania State University - Abington, Pennsylvania State University - Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Institute of Technology, SUNY Morrisville State College, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Bryn Athyn College and Pennsylvania College of the Technology will both join the conference as full members in 2014-15.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D'Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Penn State Altoona (M Volleyball) and Rutgers University - Camden (M Golf & M Tennis).  The North Eastern Athletic Conference has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of men's and women's tennis.