San Antonio – The St. Mary’s University volleyball team has been awarded the prestigious American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for student-athlete excellence for their work in the classroom during the 2006-07 academic year.

The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale during the school year. The St. Mary’s team posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.51 for the 2006-07 academic year. The honor marked the third time in four years the Rattlers have been a recipient of the award. The Rattlers were one of 30 teams in NCAA Division II to win the award. There are 265 teams in NCAA Division II.

“The AVCA team academic award is a goal that the ladies set at the beginning of every season and to receive it for the third time over the last four years is very special,” head coach Todd Caughlin said. “The dedication it takes to work as hard in the classroom as on the court requires a very special group of athletes. They want the award because it represents a lot of what St. Mary’s University stands for and the ladies like to work towards that recognition for the school. I am very proud of the team for earning such a prestigious award especially considering we are in an elite group of only 30 Division II schools to receive the award in all of the NCAA Division II ranks.”

Recipients of the award range from NCAA Division I institutions to high school girls’ and boys’ teams. The college ranks produced 155 programs that met the requirements for the award in 2006-2007. To go along with the record number of NCAA Division I recipients, NCAA Division II (30) had the third highest total in a season and NCAA Division III (48) set a record for schools honored in a season as well.

The Rattlers finished the 2006 season with a 19-16 overall record and placed second in the Heartland Conference Tournament. St. Mary’s returns six of seven starters from that team for the upcoming season. The Rattlers will open the 2007 season on August 25 when they host Central Missouri State University in the first round of the St. Mary’s University/Texas MedClinic Volleyball Tournament in Bill Greehey Arena.

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