San Jac volleyball team named AVCA academic team

07.31.2017 | By Madelon Zimmermann

HOUSTON, Texas – The 2016 San Jacinto College volleyball team was awarded a Team Academic Award by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

This award recognizes collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining a cumulative team grade point average of 3.30 or above for the 2016 season. The San Jac volleyball team had a cumulative team GPA of 3.42, which also earned a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Academic team award for the third consecutive year.

This is the first time the San Jac volleyball team has been named an AVCA academic team. This year only 21 community colleges nationwide earned the AVCA academic team honor and San Jac was one of two community colleges in Texas to receive the award.

“I am incredibly proud of both the academic and the athletic performances of our student athletes. The rigors of balancing the academic with the athletic at the collegiate level is no easy task. To perform and be recognized in both categories on the national level is a true testament to the ladies’ dedication to excellence,” said Head Coach Sharon Nelson. “Academics are always a priority for our program not only for eligibility and for transfer status, but for life long success."

In addition to the AVCA award, 11 players earned Dean’s list honors, with eight earning Dean’s list honors every semester of attendance. All six sophomores on the team have graduated from San Jacinto College, five of them with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honors, and are transferring to universities to continue their volleyball careers and finish their educations.

Several of the players also received NJCAA Academic Achievement Awards. Ines Bawedin (Reunion Island, France / Louis Payen HS) and Juel Rayburn (Pearland/ Pearland HS) earned Pinnacle Awards for Academic Excellence, which requires a 4.0 GPA. Elena Hadzhieva (Razlog, Bulgaria/ Ratya Petar HS) earned a Superior Academic Achievement Award, which requires a 3.80-3.99 GPA. Margarita Buvinic (Croatia/ Srednja skola Mate Balote Porec), Nakia Taylor (Humble/ Atascocita HS), Kayden Thomas (Huffman/ Hargrave HS) and Hannah Westerlage (Dickinson/ Dickinson HS) earned an Exemplary Academic Achievement Award, which requires a 3.60-3.79 GPA.

San Jac went undefeated in conference play in 2016, and was ranked as high as 10th in the nation during the season. The team finished with a 26-9 overall record while remaining undefeated at home.

For more information about the San Jacinto College volleyball program visit      


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.