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Nov. 24, 2008
University Park, Pa. - Penn State women's volleyball senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) has been named the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced. This prestigious honor is only the second-ever for a Nittany Lion women's volleyball student-athlete, as Bonnie Bremner picked up the accolade in 1998 and 1999. In addition, junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) is one of six student-athletes in the country to earn ESPN The Magazine Second Team Academic All-America honors.
Harmotto, also named one of six ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-Americans, earns her second career honor as she picked up Third Team recognition last year. It is the first career national academic accolade for Hodge. In a local connection, Juniata College's Amber Thomas was named the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year for the college division.
The 2007 Big Ten Player of the Year and a member of the 2007 NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team, Harmotto holds a 3.47 grade point average in Elementary Education while also leading the country in hitting percentage (.518), a mark that is just shy of the NCAA record. For her career, Harmotto is attacking at a school-record .436 percentage with an average of 2.88 kills per game and she is on track to become one of only three players in Penn State history to become a four-time AVCA All-American. A 2007 AVCA First Team All-American, earlier this year Harmotto became one of four players in Nittany Lion women's volleyball history to record more than 1,000 career kills and 600 career blocks. She currently stands with 645 career blocks, good for fourth-all time, and her 1,190 career kills place her 17th on Penn State's all-time career list. Harmotto will spend next semester teaching in England as part of Penn State's student-teaching program before graduating in May.
Hodge has earned a 3.39 grade point average in management while ranking first on the team with 3.93 kills per game on .328 hitting while also adding in 17 service aces and 184 digs for a total of 2.07 digs per game. A 2007 AVCA First Team All-American and the 2007 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, Hodge has led the team in kills 15 times and has provided the top mark in digs on seven occasions. She currently ranks eighth all-time in career kills with 1,462 and last weekend against Northwestern and Wisconsin averaged 4.33 kills per game on .600 hitting with 16 total digs.
Hodge and Harmotto, who helped the top-ranked and defending national champion Nittany Lions (30-0, 18-0 Big Ten) to their sixth straight outright Big Ten title, are two of the 18 total ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honorees for 2008 in the university division.
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.
Penn State closes out the Big Ten schedule on the road this weekend at Ohio State and Michigan. The match with the Wolverines will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 6:00 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2008 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.
2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans
Amanda Gates, Nebraska, Sr., 3.96, Communication Studies
Cynthia Barboza, Stanford, Sr., 3.33, Political Science
Christa Harmotto, Penn State, Sr., 3.47, Elementary Education*
Briana Stremick, U.S. Military Academy, Sr., 3.94, Mechanical Engineering
Mallory Clements, SIU-Edwardsville, Sr., 3.94, Business Administration
Kori Cooper, Nebraska, Jr., 3.82, Speech-Language Pathology
Jenny Heppert, UCF, Sr., 4.0, Biology
Megan Hodge, Penn State, Jr., 3.39, Management
Kelsey Bowers, Florida, Sr., 3.92, Public Relations
Rachael Moss, Duke, Jr., 3.93, Political Science
Jordan Larson, Nebraska, Sr., 3.31, Communication Studies
Lauren Felsing, UW Milwaukee, Jr., 3.98, Marketing
Molly Davis, SE Missouri State, Jr., 4.0, Sport Management
Jillian Wolosiansky, Eastern Michigan, Sr., 4.0, Public Administration
Rachael Breinling, U.S. Military Academy, Sr., 3.52, Geography
Jill Collymore, Washington, Jr., 3.78, Psychology
Samantha Schulte, SIU-Edwardsville, Sr., 4.0, Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology
Rochelle Meulemans, UW Green Bay, Sr., 3.98, Biology
* ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year