The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) awarded the USD volleyball team a Team Academic Award for the 2017-2018 season.
According to the AVCA, the award 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.”
In addition to being one of 164 Division I schools awarded, USD also earned Academic Honor Roll recognition for a top-25 Grade Point Average, the only Summit League school to do so, according to GoYotes.
Head coach Leanne Williamson said the balance of time between the classroom and the court is a focus of the program.
“We obviously strive to do well on the floor, but academics is our first priority,” Williamson said. “You’re here to get an education. Volleyball is a bonus; it’s something we get to do because we go to school. Being top-25 in GPA in the country the last two years definitely shows they’re doing it the right way.”
Though the upperclassmen “set the standard right away,” Williamson said the team’s academic achievement begins in the recruiting process.
“We recruit kids that want to do well at both (volleyball and school), and that have a passion for pushing themselves regardless of what they’re doing.”
What everything boils down to, Williamson said, is time management.
“With our first road trip coming up next weekend in Milwaukee, I’ll assume you’ll see some of our players with their textbooks on the bus or reading through chapters,” Williamson said. “It’s finding the time you have to take advantage of studies.”
“At this point in time, it’s not so much the coaches, but the team. It’s the culture we have and an expectation for us that we do really well.”
USD faces Northwestern in their first of three tournament games of the Panther Invitational in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, starting August 24th.