Continuing the historic trend of the Northern Illinois volleyball team’s 2010 season, setter Kristin Hoffman became the first Huskie volleyball player to be named an ESPN Academic All-American®, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Tuesday.
“As I’ve said many times before, Kristin is the definition of a student-athlete,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “Not only is she a champion on the court, but in the classroom and in the community, as well. To be named an All-American in any regard is a tremendous accomplishment. She’s the first-ever Huskie volleyball academic All-American, which is indescribable how prestigious of an accomplishment it is.”
The junior was selected to the Third Team and is one of only two to make the grade from the Mid-American Conference and District V. Conference mate Allyson Doyle, a senior from Western Michigan, and fellow District V representative Johannah Bangert, a senior from Illinois, both were chosen to the First Team. The Batavia High School (Ill.) graduate is just one of three juniors to make one of the three teams, which are comprised of 18 indivudals, six designated to each team.
Hoffman is the 32nd Huskie to collect the accolade, which has been given in total to NIU student-athletes 53 times. She is the second person from the university this fall to garner the honor, as men’s soccer senior Kyle Knotek was selected to the First Team a year after earning a Second Team nod.
The award is the third major recognition of the month for the history major with a 3.95 cumulative grade point average. On Nov. 4, Hoffman took home First Team ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District V. Nearly two weeks later, on Nov. 19, she was chosen to the All-MAC First Team.
“For me, school has always been a priority since I was young,” Hoffman said. “I always try to do well in school and transfer that over to sports and on the volleyball court. The academic aspect of being an athlete is always a strong point for us as volleyball players and is something that we want to continue to excel at as a program.”
The 2009 Academic All-MAC performer finished the season ranking second in the league in assists (11.51/set) and 17th in the nation. Along the way, Hoffman set career-highs of 1,496 assists, 53 kills, 28 aces, 260 digs, 35 blocks, 99.5 points and eight assist-dig double-doubles, and dished out a career-high 71 assists on Nov. 5 at Western Michigan. Her assist total is good for fifth on the NIU all-time single season list as she captained an offense that ranked 33rd in kills (14.01/set) and 34th in hitting percentage (.256).
In developing a symbiotic relationship with 2010 MAC Player and Freshman of the Year Lauren Wicinski (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), Hoffman assisted the rookie phenom outside hitter to the top of the nation’s list for kills by a freshman. Overall, Wicinski ranked sixth in the NCAA in kills (4.82/set).
“Ever since I found out that we were recruiting Lauren, I was really looking forward to the chance to play with her,” said Hoffman. “I played against her in high school and was excited to help her on the court this year. Throughout the season I watched her progress into an amazing volleyball player. She does things as an outside hitter that I’ve never really seen before, and she does it effortlessly and flawlessly. It’s been really exciting to help her along the way this year.”
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 15,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.
The ESPN Academic All-America® program currently selects 12 teams at the University Division level and 12 teams at the College Division level.
The program currently selects the following Academic All-America® teams: men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s cross country and track, women’s cross country and track, men’s at-large and women’s at-large.