GVSU volleyball wins academic awards, prepare for 2019 season

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GVSU volleyball wins academic awards, prepare for 2019 season

COURTESY | gvsulakers.com

COURTESY | gvsulakers.com

COURTESY | gvsulakers.com

COURTESY | gvsulakers.com

Rosemary Booher, Staff Reporter

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Earlier this summer, the Grand Valley State volleyball team was honored with 2018-2019 Team Academic Awards, which are awarded and announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), to collegiate and high school volleyball teams that hold a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average or higher on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

The Lakers went above and beyond in order to receive this award, as the team had eight players who earned a 3.5 GPA or higher and also had 13 athletes who recorded a GPA of 3.3 or higher. This season there will be eight letter winners from last year who will be returning to play for GVSU and continue their academic excellence. However, academic excellence is not the only thing that the team is striving for again this year, according to senior Kendall Yerkes.

“Our main goal obviously would be a national championship title, however I think making and attaining smaller goals is going to be more beneficial for us this season,” Yerkes said. “We are bringing in nine freshman and I think a huge part of our success early on is going to be how quickly we can get them accustomed to our program.”

The team has been preparing for this influx of young players during the preseason, and creating an accepting culture and environment has been one of the main focuses this off season. The importance of a healthy relationship and an understanding of one another is very important to the team, according to Yerkes.

“This past spring, we really focused on our relationships with each other,” Yerkes said. “We had a pretty small group after graduating a lot of seniors, so it was a great time to really work on our relationships and team dynamics. We also focused on the culture that we want our program to have and the importance of accountability”.

Yerkes and Cavallaro are the only seniors this season and both have taken it upon themselves to make sure that the hefty load of newcomers are able to navigate their way through this season successfully. Coming into this season there are only two seniors, no juniors and 16 underclassmen on the roster, making the team a rather inexperienced one.

Despite the difficulty that the team may face with such young players, Yerkes believes there is still hope for a winning season.

“This team is going to be very different than last seasons,” Yerkes said. “There are a lot of new faces and a ton of good energy coming from our group as a whole. We aren’t going to have a ton of experience this year, but I think that if we carry that positive energy and excitement throughout the season the record is going to follow”.

This season is bound to be one of growth and excitement, and it officially starts Friday, Sept. 6, in N. C. as the Lakers compete in the UNC Pembroke Invitational.