Xavier volleyball earns AVCA Academic Award

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Kali Riddell/XPress photo

Xavier’s varsity volleyball players along with the coaches start off their practice in a socially-distanced group circle.

April Tanner, Staff Writer

On July 20, 2020, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (ACVA) announced that the Xavier College Preparatory’s varsity volleyball team, along with 1,324 other volleyball teams in the United States, earned the United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for their 2019-2020 season.

The volleyball teams that maintained a year-long grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale are honored with the award. By maintaining a team grade-point average of  3.30 during the school year, the Xavier varsity volleyball team received this award. 

For the past four school years, Xavier has entered its academics to the American Volleyball Coaches Association in order to be considered. Xavier earned the award in those four consecutive years starting in the 2016-2017 school year and continued into the 2019-2020 school year.

Coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, the head coach of  Xavier’s varsity volleyball team, was “fairly ecstatic” that her team received the award. “Not only is Xavier’s volleyball known for their athletic talents, but academically, this is a strong team as well. It’s great that the girls can be just as talented on the court, as they can be in the classroom,” said Bryant.

“I was really proud of it and it wasn’t just because of my GPA, but also my teammates and I as a team, we worked together,” said Kaori Robertson, libero for the varsity volleyball team. 

“I think receiving the award means that we care about each athlete and ourselves as well-rounded women, again, not just athletes. Because in my experience and in everyone’s experience you stop playing — eventually, you’re gonna have to figure things out after you’re done playing,” said Coach Kristen Jones, last year’s assistant coach of the varsity volleyball team and this year’s freshman coach.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic award began in 1992 and it has now celebrated its 28th year of recognizing many teams’ scholastic achievements. Various teams have won this award, including college and high school teams, in both indoor and beach volleyball.

Xavier College Preparatory was one of the 464 high school girls teams to be a recipient of the USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award this year. The 1,325 winners in total who won the award broke last year’s record of 1,130 winners.

Coaches not only have an impact on athletes’ successes on the court or on the field, but in the classroom as well. In order to keep her student athletes focused on academic success, Bryant plans to help the athletes on the varsity team realize that “you have to make sure that you have a plan and time management.” 

As for how she plans to stay focused on her academic success this year while playing volleyball, outside hitter Zaira Reyes says she focuses on “having integrity when I’m at home and being truthful to teachers and myself.”

“I just want to thank the administration, Sister Lynn, Sister Joan and Sister Joanie. They provide all the infrastructure that we need to be successful. I’m very grateful for all the teachers at Xavier being supportive of athletes, and of my athletes working really hard in the classroom,” said Bryant.

Xavier College Preparatory’s varsity volleyball team had its first scheduled game of their season, away, at 6 p.m. on September 22 against Basha High School.