Volleyball maintains high GPA
By Rahul Raina, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 27, 2012
The Dartmouth women’s volleyball team was awarded the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the 2011-2012 season on July 20. Dartmouth was one of 535 teams nationwide — and one of five Ivy League institutions — to earn the honor.
Initiated in the 1992-1993 academic year, the award honors both collegiate and high school volleyball teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients of the team academic award has increased every year but one, while amassing an overall 200 percent increase in the span of the last decade. Since the award’s inception in 1993, the number of awards given has risen by an astounding 760 percent. NCAA Division I recorded their highest total number of recipients, honoring 103 programs.
Head volleyball coach Erin Lindsey said that she is extremely proud of her players’ academic accomplishments.
“I was so pleased that I got to nominate the team for the award this year,” Lindsey said. “It is a great reflection of the work the girls have put in, not only on the courts and in the weight room, but also in the classroom and the library. All of the girls are dedicated to their studies and have a good idea of what they want to accomplish during their time at Dartmouth.”
Lindsey stressed that the student-athletes understand the importance of academic success.
“We are very flexible with our players,” she said. “It is important that everyone on the team makes academics their first priority, and we make that clear from the get go.”
While members of the volleyball team have the option to miss practice in order to meet a professor or study for an exam, most players do not find this necessary, according to Lindsey.
“Most of our girls manage their time very well and rarely have to jeopardize practice time in order to study,” she said. “The team on the whole is very good at using its free time to focus on school work.”
Team member Meghan Cooney ’14 said that the coaches and training staff understand how important academics are to the athletes.
“While it is expected that we do not compromise practice time and workouts to catch up on work, our coaches often reduce the workload during tough midterm weeks to make sure that we do not wear out over the course of the season,” Cooney said.
Cooney said that the team serves as a great support system for her when schoolwork picks up during the season.
“The team is really good about doing work together in the few hours that we have outside of class and training,” she said. “We know we need to get eight hours of sleep a night to be at our best for games, so we try to get most of our work done during the day. In a funny way, getting work done in season is actually easier because you know you don’t have a lot of time to waste.”
Lindsey said that Dartmouth Peak Performance is an especially important resource for her student athletes.
“Dartmouth Peak Performance has played a huge role in helping the girls balance their academic and athletic lives on campus,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey cited Anne Hudak, associate athletics director for Dartmouth Peak Performance, as an effective liaison and advisor to the volleyball team.
“[Hudak] has played a huge role in helping our athletes cope with the rigors of an intense workload in the fall when they are in season,” Lindsey said. “She is also great with helping them plan their off-terms and Foreign Study Programs in the winter and spring once the volleyball season is over.”
The Big Green had a successful 2011 season, finishing with a 16-9 overall record and an 8-6 Ivy League record, which included a big 3-2 win at Yale University to end the season. The season marked an improvement from the previous year, when Dartmouth finished 5-9 in Ivy League play. The winning season was made even sweeter with three Dartmouth players receiving All-Ivy team honors. Madeline Baird ’12 was selected to the first team, Annie Villanueva ’12 made the second team and Alissa Santa Maria ’13 was given an honorable mention.
Lindsey noted that next year’s team will miss some of its key outgoing seniors, but the incoming talent in the freshman class should help Dartmouth remain competitive in the Ivy League.
“Some of our incoming freshman attended our camp this summer, and they looked great,” she said. “We will definitely be a young team next year, but with the incoming recruits as well as the talent we are welcoming back, I am looking forward to an exciting fall season.”