UCF Volleyball: 'Champions In The Classroom'

May 9, 2012

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Led by two starters who earned all A's this spring, UCF's volleyball student-athletes are living up to their goal of being "Champions in the Classroom."

The team posted a 3.37 GPA for the spring semester and a 3.34 GPA for the 2011-12 academic year. Based on that performance, UCF is in a strong position to earn the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the third-straight year.

Rachel Vukson, an Education major who graduated last week, and rising senior Tory McCutcheon, a Molecular Biology and Microbiology major, both earned all A's during the spring semester.

Fellow rising seniors Dani Harrison, who finished her undergraduate degree in Marketing, and Evija Vilde, a Hospitality Management student, earned GPAs of 3.7 and 3.8 respectively.

"The team really has an exciting culture in place, especially in regards to their academic expectations," head volleyball coach Todd Dagenais said. "Academics are one of those areas where we allow them to set their goals, and they are a great example of what can happen with positive peer pressure."

McCutcheon has earned the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal each of the past three seasons, and Harrison has received medals for two consecutive years. The medals recognize student-athletes who have cumulative GPAs of 3.75 or better. McCutcheon also earned a spot on the Capital One Academic All-District First Team last year.

UCF concluded the 2011 season with 20 wins for the first time since 2003 and notched a program-best 12 triumphs in Conference USA. The Knights will return six-of-seven starters to this fall.

"Our mission from Day 1 has been to become `Champions in the Classroom,'" Dagenais added. "For us, that's where `excellence' starts. When we feel good about our academic performance and social decisions, the on-court excellence seems to just fall in place."