Lincoln –Three University of Nebraska volleyball players earned one of the highest academic honors a student-athlete can receive, as Amanda Gates, Kori Cooper and Jordan Larson were named ESPN the Magazine Academic All-Americans, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, Monday afternoon.
Middle blockers Amanda Gates and Kori Cooper were both chosen as first-team selections, while outside hitter Jordan Larson was a second-team selection. Nebraska was the only school with two first-team selections and three Academic All-Americans, as well as one of three Division I programs with multiple Academic All-America picks (also U.S. Military Academy and Penn State).
The two first-team selections marked the third time in the last four years that Nebraska has placed multiple members on the six-member first team (also 2005 and 2007).
Gates earns the first honor of her career as she carries a 3.96 GPA in communication studies. A two-time academic All-Big 12 pick, Gates has been active in NU’s community outreach efforts and was selected to the Big 12 Good Works Team the past two years. She has been a member of NU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee during the last three years and has helped the Husker Volleyball team win the Life Skills Award the past two years. On the court, Gates is averaging 1.75 kills and 1.12 blocks per set, ranking among the Big 12 leaders in blocks (fifth) and hitting percentage (.348, sixth).
Cooper joined Gates on the six-member first-team after putting together a solid year. A speech-language pathology major with a 3.82 GPA, Cooper is a two-time academic All-Big 12 pick and has been involved in numerous causes, including the Dance Marathon, School is Cool Week and the Read to Succeed Book Drive. Cooper is also active in the UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience) program on the UNL campus. On the court, Cooper averaged 2.09 kills and 0.88 blocks per set, while ranking second in the Big 12 with a .396 hitting percentage before suffering a season-ending injury on Nov. 19. Kori is the second member of her family to receive academic All-America honors, as her older brother, Tyler, was named a second-team academic All-American in basketball at West Texas A&M last season.
Larson earned the first academic All-America honor of her career, as she was chosen to the six-member second team. A three-time academic All-Big 12 pick, Larson has been involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Walk and the Gramercy Hill Retirement Home. She carries a 3.31 GPA in communication studies and will graduate in December. On the court, the two-time All-American averages 3.85 kills, 3.15 digs an 0.36 service aces per set, ranking among the conference leaders in kills (fourth), service aces (second) and points (4.57, fourth). She is on NU’s top-10 list in kills, digs, service aces and solo blocks, while her 50 double-doubles are the most by a Husker in the Big 12 era.
Nebraska now has 35 volleyball CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, 22 more than runner-up M.I.T., while Penn State is the only other Division I program with at least 10 academic All-Americans. In all sports, Nebraska leads the nation with 266 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.
To be nominated for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and must be a sophomore in both athletic and academic standing. Academic All-Americans are chosen from a pool of the ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-District selections in the eight districts across the country.