HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) – Centenary University women’s soccer defender/midfielder Sam Bombardiere was recently named a finalist for the prestigious Inspiration Award, given by The Collegiate Women Sports Awards presented by Honda.
The Inspiration Award is given to a female student-athlete who overcame a hardship and returned to play at the collegiate level. Nominations are accepted from across all three NCAA Divisions. Bombardiere is one of four finalists and her story will be part of a TV broadcast on CBS Sports Network on June 18 at 8:00 p.m. The winner will be part of a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m.
Bombardiere, of Toms River, played her freshman year for head coach Kevin Davies in 2015 and appeared in 18 games while making 13 starts. After complaining of back pain during the off-season, she went through treatment with no success. Bombardiere was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer and underwent surgery. Chemotherapy treatment forced the Toms River, New Jersey native to miss the 2016 season on the field but she was still a constant presence on the Cyclone sideline.
“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 back to playing my favorite sport. Her attitude for most of her illness was “I’m going to beat this, but how long is it supposed to take?”
Bombardiere returned to the Cyclone lineup in the fall of 2017 and played in 16 games and scored her first career goal against Rosemont.
The 2018 season was when all the hard work to come back from cancer paid off for Bombardiere. She was the linchpin in a defensive unit that allowed just 1.24 goals per game and held opponents to just over 12 shots a game.
Bombardiere was named the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Defensive Player of the Year after helping the defense post eight shutouts in conference play and set the school record for single-season shutouts with 12. Bombardiere and the Cyclones won their first conference championship since 2010 and advance to the NCAA Tournament. She took home First Team All-CSAC honors and First Team All-ECAC accolades. Bombardiere was also named to the Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.
Despite her health concerns, Bombardiere has also excelled in the classroom. She is on track to graduate in four years with a degree in biology even with going through the medical treatments for cancer during her sophomore season. Bombardiere carries a 3.92 cumulative GPA and received the Stutzman Prize, awarded to the student who demonstrates an aptitude, academic achievement, and a commitment to the study of biology.