Lady Matador Volleyball earns NJCAA Academic All-American Team honors again
Jun. 29th, 2012
2011 Region I runners-up on court earn honor for 2nd straight year with 3.22 cumulative GPAs in classroom
Yuma, Arizona – June 29, 2012 – Arizona Western College is proud to announce that for the second straight year, the AWC Volleyball team has earned a spot on the NJCAA Academic All-American Teams list. The team achieved the prestigious academic honor for the 2011-12 academic year with a cumulative team grade point average of 3.22-just above their 3.2 mark of 2010-11, and well above the 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA required to make the list. The announcement comes just less than two months prior to the student-athletes’ return to the classrooms on the AWC campus for the start of the 2012-13 fall semester.
The All-Academic Team honor caps off a banner year-in and out of the classroom-for the Lady Matadors’ Volleyball squad. It also keeps AWC Head Volleyball Coach Jason Smith’s record perfect for NJCAA All-Academic teams under his tutelage at the school. Both of Smith’s teams earned this distinction during his first tour of duty at Arizona Western in 2007 and 2008, and upon his return to the program in June of 2011, his squad of a year ago continued the trend of academic success. The team certainly didn’t let their athletic success in the fall go to their collective heads and make them forget their academic responsibilities, since while they were achieving a spot in the Region I Finals for the second consecutive year, they were also earning a cumulative 3.13 GPA during the fall semester. They continued that strong academic performance after their athletic season was concluded, posting a cumulative 3.16 GPA this past spring. The excellent academic balance was very strong, since they placed seven of their 13 student-athletes on the AWC Dean’s List in the fall semester, and three in the spring. Three of those-sophomores Kailey Smith and Nina Rogers and freshmen Jessalyn (Jess) Smith-made the Dean’s List all year long. Kailey Smith led the way for the team in the fall, achieving a 3.81 GPA over 16 fall credits; while Jess Smith (21 credits) and Rogers (15 credits) hit the 4.0 mark in the spring. Rogers topped the list overall, not only leading the squad with a 3.84 cumulative GPA for the year , but also placing on the NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American list, which rewards those student-athletes who have a cumulative 3.8 GPA or higher over their two-year junior college career. Jess Smith was right behind Rogers with a 3.83 cumulative GPA, which puts her in strong shape to join the NJCAA Academic All-American list next year; and Kailey Smith’s 3.71 cumulative GPA for two years did place her on that NJCAA Academic All-American list (a cumulative 3.6 GPA or higher over a two-year junior college career) this year. Other impressive academic performances for the squad include Polina Severina (3.45), sophomore Megan Knapp (3.34) , as well as freshmen Paula Rosa (3.14), San Luis native Carolyn Sosa (3.06) and Amanda Watkins (3.0).
As the student-athletes from all seven sports return to the AWC campus for the start of fall classes in a month or so, the head of the athletic department hopes the 2011-12 volleyball team’s performance will continue to inspire all of this year’s squads. “We’re extremely pleased that our volleyball student-athletes continue to show how being successful in the classroom and on the court can go hand-in-hand,” said AWC Athletic Director Jerry Smith. “We’re obviously proud of what they did last fall on the court, but even more proud that they continue to achieve this honor year after year.”