July 22, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - The University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball team was one of 77 NCAA Division III programs to receive the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the 2008-09 season it was announced today by the AVCA. All told, 409 teams earned the honor, which eclipses last year's total of 354 to set an all-time high for the award.

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 Beacons earned a team GPA of 3.30 for 2008-09.

"Each year I'm impressed all over again by the academic prowess of volleyball players," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "Total AVCA Team Academic Award winners increased this year by another 55 schools (15%) over last year's record, and, even more impressive, 22% of our four-year college teams had grade point averages of 3.2 or better."

NCAA Division I once again had 71 schools receiving the award for academic achievements. NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III surpassed their marks from last year with 46 and 77 schools, respectively.

The NAIA had 35 of its member schools achieve the honor this year, which is 21% of its total membership for 2008-2009. Nine schools in the Two-Year College category attained the mark while the NCCAA produced two recipients.

The NCAA men's programs produced multiple recipients of the award this year, with two Division I schools and another two Division III schools earning the award. A total of 165 high school boys' and girls' programs - 17 boys' teams and 148 girls' teams - earned the award in 2008-09.

Over 900 different schools have earned the award in the program's 17-year history, and over 2,800 awards have been given out. Only two institutions, both high schools, have earned the distinction all 17 years: Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro, Arkansas) and Ross S. Sterling High School (Baytown, Texas).

The award just adds to the UMass Boston volleyball team's tremendous year. The Beacons enjoyed their greatest season ever in 2008, setting a school standard for victories with a 25-9 record, and played in their first-ever Little East Conference Championship match, before falling to Keene State College, 3-2 (30-28, 21-25, 25-22, 17-25, 17-15) on November 8. UMass Boston won a school-record 12 consecutive matches during the season and went into the title match, having won 16 of their last 17 matches. The Beacons also boasted both the LEC Offensive Player of the Year (Kate McWhorter of Bakersfield, CA) and the LEC Rookie of the Year (Cassy Hanneman of Denver, CO).