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RMU Earns AVCA Team Academic Award

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pittsburgh -- The Robert Morris University volleyball team was recently honored for some impressive numbers it produced off from the court as the Colonials earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the second consecutive year.
The award, given to fewer than one third of Division I programs, 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.
“I am very proud of this team and its academic achievements,” RMU head coach Dale Starr said. “Our student-athletes take seriously their responsibilities in the classroom and understand how important that is for the rest of their lives.”
RMU claimed its second academic award of the summer after it had exceeded the AVCA’s standard by an extensive margin this past season.
Robert Morris posted a 3.655 GPA in the 2011-12 academic year, a mark which was the best among all of its Northeast Conference (NEC) foes. As a result, the Colonials were honored with the NEC Team GPA Award for volleyball this past season.
Robert Morris had 11 of its student-athletes named to the NEC Academic Honor Roll with five of those individuals qualifying for the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Both of those figures tied the Colonials for the most amongst NEC volleyball programs.
Despite playing 32 matches this past season, seven Colonials posted a 3.75 GPA or higher during the fall semester. Additionally, eight of RMU’s 12 returnees entering 2012 have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, including senior outside hitter Una Japundza (Rovinj, Croatia / Zvane Crnja) who owns a perfect 4.0 GPA.
In addition to the team’s honors, RMU volleyball has boasted an array of highly accomplished student athletes in recent years. Hannah Veith, an All-NEC First Team performer, was awarded the NEC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2011 season, marking the fourth-consecutive year in which a Colonial has claimed that award. Former Colonial Amanda Graham, a two-time winner of that honor, became the first female student-athlete from any RMU sport to earn Academic All-American accolades at the conclusion of the 2010 season.
“While it is undeniable that the sport we coach is zero-sum on the scoreboard, it is a tool for empowerment on other fronts,” AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer said in an organizational release. “A well-deserved congratulations to each team and coach!”
Robert Morris demonstrated that academic and athletic success are not mutually exclusive in 2011 as the Colonials qualified for their 13th-consecutive NEC Tournament, extending the league's longest active streak. Veith also become the first player ever from the NEC to win a National Player of the Week honor.
“Volleyball at this level will most likely be a four year proposition, and it is imperative that these athletes get a great education in order to make them competitive in the work force,” Starr said. “These young ladies take that philosophy to heart and work very hard in the classroom, and it shows by not only winning this award but having the top GPA in the Northeast Conference among volleyball teams. I couldn't be prouder of this team and congratulate them on a job very well done.”
RMU is now under four weeks away from opening its season, a campaign it will begin by participating in the four-team Villanova Classic. The Colonials will take the floor for the first time Friday, Aug. 24, as they take on New Hampshire before they face Maryland and the host Wildcats the following day.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.