As soon as Sarah Street stepped on the volleyball court at Atlantic Cape Community College in fall 2011, Buccaneers coach Tim Newkirk knew he had something special.
Street, who played at Absegami High School alongside some top-level collegiate recruits, added a new dimension to the squad at Atlantic Cape with her skills at the setter position, Newkirk said.
"Her knowledge of the game was off the charts," Newkirk said of the Egg Harbor City resident. "One of those girls you almost didn't have to coach. She knew the sport. She knew where she had to be on the court, knew the game and was very skilled at her position."
Street was honored as a Woman of the Year by the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women at an award ceremony Jan. 27 at Seton Hall University. The NJAIAW presents this award to one exceptional athlete from each college and university in the state each year.
Atlantic Cape selects its Woman of the Year representative from a pool of athletes nominated by the school's women's basketball, softball and volleyball coaches. Students are selected for their leadership, their academic and athletic prowess and their ability to represent the school.
Street said she was surprised and honored when she learned she was to receive the award.
"I wasn't expecting it at all," said Street, an Academic All-American, one of six the school has had in the past three years. "I thought it would be one of the basketball players because basketball is bigger here."
Softball stars Justina Mishkovsky (2010) and Brittany Yachere (2011) and basketball star Sheila Cruz (2012) were the previous Atlantic Cape athletes to receive the award.
Street, who graduated from Absegami in 2011, was pursued by Rutgers University-Camden out of high school, but elected to remain close to home for her first two years, both to save some money and to allow herself some time to mature before going away for school.
Street is pursuing her associate's degree in business and hopes to earn her bachelor's degree in marketing following her completion of the program at Atlantic Cape.
Going into business has always been a dream of Street, who rather than playing house growing up, pictured herself as a high-powered CEO.
"I just always imagined myself being the boss of some big corporation, and I would act like that, so it's ever since I was little I wanted to do something in business," Street said.
Street will complete the program at Atlantic Cape this spring, at which point she hopes to transfer to a four-year college. Rutgers-Camden has again expressed interest in bringing her to their court next winter, and Centenary College approached her at the awards ceremony. Newkirk and Street's club coaches are calling schools on Street's behalf.
Paying for a four-year school will require that she receive significant scholarship money, Street said, and while the Division III schools that have pursued her cannot offer athletic scholarships, Street's performance in the classroom might be enough to earn her a discount.
The move to a four-year college will be no easy task, but Atlantic Cape Assistant Athletic Director Mike Rennick said he is confident Street will be able to make it, and the school's Athletic Department will wear it as a badge of honor if and when she does.
"It's huge," Rennick said. "We're going to hang our hat on her for a few years and put her photo up."
Contact Braden Campbell: