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Huskies claim sixth straight AVCA Team Academic Award

August 4, 2014
From left: Meghan Romo, Mary Kurisch, Alexis “Pookie” Gonzalez and Justine Schepler celebrate a Huskie volleyball victory.

From left: Meghan Romo, Mary Kurisch, Alexis “Pookie” Gonzalez and Justine Schepler celebrate a Huskie volleyball victory.

The NIU volleyball team has earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the sixth consecutive season, the organization announced Monday.

“It’s always great for our volleyball student-athletes to be recognized for their work in the classroom,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “It helps us stay true our mission of excelling on the court and in the classroom and we want to thank the AVCA for the award.”

The team finished with a cumulative 3.445 GPA. Five members of the team posted a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the 2013-14 academic year, while an additional six Huskies were at a 3.0 or better.

In 2013, the Huskies posted a 19-13 overall record and a 10-6 MAC mark, while advancing to the MAC Tournament semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. Sarah Angelos and Mackenzie Roddy both claimed First Team All-MAC honors, while Mary Grace Kelly and Jenna Radtke earned spots on the MAC All-Freshman Team. Off the court, three Huskies were named to the Academic All-MAC team and two others got honorable mention.

The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

The AVCA Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA’s fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients have increased every single year but one, while amassing an overall 500% increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award’s inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 676.

NCAA Division I recorded their highest-ever total number of recipients, honoring 134 programs while NCAA Division II also set a new record by reaching a total of 94 honorees. NCAA Division III continues to set new records after 126 schools take home the honor with the Two-Year College category also surpassing their previous high of 16 with 22.

Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program’s 22-year history, with exactly 6,126 awards been given out in total.

For a full list of award recipients from all three NCAA divisions, NAIA, NJCAA, NCCAA and high school, visit