By MARK MCGEE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 2014-2015 Lipscomb volleyball team added another honor this week, earning a Team Academic Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
Lipscomb was one of 147 NCAA Division I women’s teams honored.
The award recognizes collegiate and high school volleyball teams that have displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
The Lady Bisons finished the 2014 season 21-9 and became the first volleyball team from the Atlantic Sun Conference to earn an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. They were 13-1 in the conference and won the A-Sun regular season championship.
It is the second year in a row the team has received the AVCA honor.
“Any time you can have a successful year like we had on the court and couple it with academic success in the classroom is what it is all about,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “The team GPA for the spring semester was 3.75, the highest it has ever been. That is something pretty special as a team average.
“We look for well-rounded girls. Obviously, we want them to be talented on the court but academically as well. It speaks very well to what Lipscomb athletics is all about. It speaks accurately on what our program is all about – putting out well-rounded people the university can be proud of.”
Rosenthal stresses that most people don’t understand the time demands and challenges faced by Division I athletes as they work to maintain success in the classroom.
“I am proud of the work they have done,” Rosenthal said. “We think they did a fantastic job.
“Most people don’t get to see our student athletes studying in hotels, studying on buses or studying in airports waiting for planes. When people think about Division I athletes they think about all of the glamorous stuff. But what they don’t realize is how these student athletes are really getting the job done. Our girls are part of that.”
Some members of the volleyball team earned individual academic honors this past year. Outside hitter Lauren Ford was named a Capital One First Team National Academic All-America. Setter Kayla Ostrom was named Capital One First Team District All-Academic. The awards are presented through the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Ford and Ostrom were also members of the A-Sun All-Conference All-Academic Team. Ford was named A-Sun Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Members of the A-Sun All-Academic Team were Ford, Ostrom, Katie Bradley, Jewell Dobson, Jordan Huston, Sophie Kellerman, Jenny Phelan, Chloe Rogers, Molly Spitznagle, Megan Stout, Kaitlyn Teeter and Brittany Thomas.
Stout is set to begin medical school at the University of Kentucky this fall.
“We had eight students earn a 4.0 in the spring,” Rosenthal said. “Megan had a 4.0 for her career and Lauren Ford only made one B. That is very impressive.”