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 in the classroom during the 2007-08 academic year.

To qualify teams must maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average, on a 4.0 scale, during the school year.

The volleyball team posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.46 for the 2007-08 academic year. The honor marked the fourth time in five years the Rattlers have been a recipient of the award. All 15 members of the Rattler volleyball team had at least a 3.00 average for the 2007-08 academic year. The Rattlers were one of just 39 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 women set at the beginning of every season and to receive it for the fourth time over the last five 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 women 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 39 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 222 programs that met the requirements for the award in 2007-08. To go along with the record number of NCAA Division II recipients, NCAA Division I (70) set a new record this season and NCAA Division III (62) set a record for schools honored in a season as well.

The Rattlers finished the 2007 season with a 14-17 overall record and a 7-7 mark in the Heartland Conference. The Rattlers will open the 2008 season on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. when they host Missouri Southern State University in the first match of the St. Mary’s/Texas MedClinic Invitational at Bill Greehey Arena.

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