Northwestern volleyball team earns NCAA's highest student-athlete sportsmanship honor; featured in Star Tribune
Sept. 3—The NCAA announced its winners of the 2009–10 Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award recently. Not only did the Northwestern College volleyball team win the award for the Division III Female category, but it also claimed the highest female accolade for all of the NCAA's divisions.
After the nomination process is complete, the NCAA’s Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct selects six divisional honorees for the award, one male and one female (individual or group) from each division. From those six, it also selects one male and one female national winner, the highest NCAA student-athlete sportsmanship honor, which went to Northwestern.
While practicing good sportsmanship is a standard for all of Northwestern's 18 intercollegiate athletic teams, the Eagle volleyball squad upped the ante, choosing to demonstrate integrity by making honor calls throughout its season. In making an honor call, players communicated to game officials that they had touched the ball after the opponent’s attack, despite the act not being seen by the referee.
The NCAA’s announcement comes just weeks after NWC was named a recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award, which comes with a requirement that the team's grade point average exceed 3.5 during the semester of its championship season.
Northwestern's 2010 season began on Sept. 1. Under head coach Beth Wilmeth, the Eagles have won three consecutive Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) championships. Northwestern finished last season with a 25–13 overall record and a perfect 14–0 record in the UMAC for the second straight year.
The Northwestern College volleyball team and its honor call system were also featured in the Sept. 7 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Columnist Rachel Blount sat down with head coach Beth Wilmeth and players Leah Kostek and Elissa Sandstrom last week to take a deeper look into the honor calls and the core covenants that form the foundation of Northwestern volleyball. Read the complete story online.
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