The USC Upstate volleyball team has received its fifth straight American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for its performance in the classroom during the 2014-15 academic year, the AVCA recently announced.
Upstate was part of a record-breaking year for the AVCA Team Academic Award as a total of 753 teams received the honor, besting the previous mark of 687 set last year. The Spartans were one of seven schools from the A-Sun to earn the recognition along with Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, conference newcomer NJIT, North Florida and Stetson.
“Our volleyball program has a rich tradition excelling in the classroom over the last 20 years,” said head coach Jennifer Calloway. “This year’s team is no exception. The team is committed to their studies and it shows by receiving this award for the fifth straight year. I am proud of their performance in the classroom this past year.”
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.
“A hearty congratulations to all the volleyball coaches whose teams won the AVCA Team Academic Award,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “Teams do not succeed in the classroom by accident any more so than they do on the court. The same coach who taught them volleyball skills cared enough about their academic achievement to gather their grades, calculate their GPA, and submit a nomination on their behalf. In doing so, these coaches sent a clear message that classroom success is just as important as volleyball success. All involved should celebrate this award!”
Upstate posted a team grade-point average of 3.474 in 2014-15 with nine players accumulating at least a 3.0 during the year. The Spartans placed nine players on the A-Sun All-Academic Team in Kayla Eversgerd, Javon Gates, Lexi Gober, Kaleigh Kelley, Emily Koelling, Alexa Lagaly, Kayla McAvoy, Rebecca Shearer and Shannon Weiss. Weiss also became the second player in program history, and first since 2011, to be named A-Sun Academic All-Conference.
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 2000-01 season, the number of recipients have increased every single year but one, while amassing a 476 team 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 753.
Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program’s 23-year history, with exactly 6,878 awards been given out in total.
Upstate opens its 2015 season Aug. 28-29 at the Charlotte Invitational in Charlotte, N.C. The Spartans will face UNC Asheville, Charlotte and Davidson at the two-day tournament.