(Posted October 28, 2005)

Huntingdon, PA - Former Juniata College women's volleyball player Carli Dale '05 (Cochranton/Cochranton) has been selected as the ESPN The Magazine College Division Academic All-American of the Year as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. To claim the prestigious honor Dale was picked among all male and female athletes at Division III colleges. Former University of Utah football standout and number-one NFL draft pick Alex Smith was the recipient of the honor in the University Division.

"To be recognized with any award is a great feeling, but to receive this honor when there were so many exceptional candidates is really amazing," Dale stated. "I was just so fortunate to be a part of a great program and a great school. I can't say enough good things about the coaches and teammates that I was lucky enough to compete with."

The Academic All-America of the Year honor, which began in 1987-88, is awarded to the most outstanding student-athlete of the year and is chosen from the student-athletes who have been awarded Team Member of the Year honors. From over 360,000 student-athletes in the nation, just 816 are selected as Academic All-America Team members each year, twenty-four are selected as Team Members of the Year and two are named Academic All-America of the Year.

The award is the most recent recognition for Dale after she claimed numerous honors during her senior season while helping lead Juniata to the NCAA Division III National Championship. She became the first Juniata College volleyball player to be named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year, along with her ESPN The Magazine College Division Volleyball Academic All-American of the Year honor. She was a three-time All-American during her four years, with two first-team honors to her credit, and was selected as the Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year as both a junior and a senior. Dale was a finalist for the Honda Award which is presented to the top female athlete in Division III, and also was selected as the female MAC Scholar Athlete for the fall athletic season.

"Carli has worked hard for and has earned every accolade that came her way over the past four year," stated Juniata women's volleyball coach and director of athletics Larry Bock. "And yet her best quality may be that she is all substance. If there was way to measure the quality of human being she is in these awards, then she would max out in that category as well. She's simply an all-around excellent individual."

Dale statistically ranks as one of the most accomplished setters in Division III volleyball history. She dished out 13.30 assists per game over her four-year career which ranks first in NCAA Division III history. She is third all-time in career assists with her total of 6,385. She led Division III in assists per game as a junior, and helped Juniata finish fourth in the country in team hitting percentage. Her career dig total of 1,565 is fourth in Juniata history and she ranks just outside the school's top-10 in career aces. In her final season she passed out a career-best 1,702 assists while leading the team with 438 digs. She added 141 kills, 37 aces and 32 blocks as well as the Eagles went 37-3 and claimed the national title.

Off the court Dale graduated this spring with a bachelor's degree in accounting. She finished her collegiate career with a 3.84 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. She was a member of the National Economics and Business Honor Society while at Juniata, and was also a three-time member of the MAC academic honor roll. Following graduation she was selected as an Outstanding Senior by the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) and by Juniata. The award is given to one senior accounting major at each participating Pennsylvania college and university based on success in the classroom and potential for a promising career in accounting.

Since graduation Dale has begun work at the accounting firm Rager, Lehman and Houck in Harrisburg. She has also accepted the head volleyball coaching position at Dickinson College where she began her coaching career this fall.

"Carli obviously has all the athletic skills and intelligence that a great athlete needs to have," Bock stated. "But the thing that has made her so successful in volleyball, and what will continue to make her successful in life, is that she has the ability to make those around her better, and to make them feel better about themselves at the same time. She's a genuinely caring and helping person, and those characteristics translate into leadership."

Dale's leadership helped Juniata compile a record of 138-19 during her four years as the team's starting setter, a winning percentage of .879. She guided the Eagles to three semifinal appearances and ultimately to the program's first national championship in 24 tournament appearances in her senior season where she was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

"A lot of this recognition started with our team winning the national championship," Dale explained. "Without the team success we had, I don't think I'd be receiving all of these individual honors. Having our team win the championship made all of this possible. This honor has made me remember how special the season was, and I'm extremely grateful for that."

"With over 10,000 student athletes being nominated for Academic All-America® each year, and considering the number of athletes completing in intercollegiate sports, to reach the epitome of what it means to be a successful student-athlete and be selected as the best of the best is quite an amazing achievement," said Bentley College's Dick Lipe, Academic All-America chair at CoSIDA.

Former recipients of Academic All-America of the Year honors include Rebecca Lobo (1994-95), Peyton Manning (1997-98), Chad Pennington (1999-00), Stacey Dales-Schuman (2001-02) and Emeka Okafor (2003-04)


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