Four Panthers make All-ACC Academic Volleyball Team


Pitt’s Jenna Potts (14) and Kamalani Akeo (3) both received All-ACC Academic honors Thursday. Meghan Sunners | Assistant Visual Editor

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

After capping a record-breaking career on the court, senior middle blocker Jenna Potts wrapped up her undergraduate career with a 4.00 GPA and a consistent place on the Dean’s List.

Potts highlighted the Pitt volleyball team’s four selections to the 2016 All-ACC Academic Team Thursday. Joining her, the ACC named three more Panthers: sophomore Kamalani Akeo, junior Mariah Bell and redshirt freshman Stephanie Williams. All four players also made it onto the All-ACC First Team or Second Team for their on-court play.

Pitt’s four representatives tied with Florida State and Georgia Tech for the most All-Academic selections out of 15 ACC schools.

In order to be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during her academic career. They also must have contributed athletically during the 2016 season.

Potts picked up her third All-ACC Academic award after graduating in December with a degree in media and professional communications. She posted a perfect 4.00 GPA in the fall semester to raise her cumulative GPA to 3.853, and she has made the Dean’s List every semester at Pitt.

The senior also earned first-team All-ACC recognition after totaling 150 blocks in the 2016 season, second-most in the conference. She finished her career as Pitt’s all-time leader with 573 blocks and 509 block assists.

Akeo, a human resources management major, followed up on her ACC Setter of the Year Award with her first All-ACC Academic honor. She made her way onto the All-ACC Second Team after finishing the season with 1,300 assists, tied for the most in the conference.

The All-ACC Academic award is also a first for Bell, a double major in information sciences and administration of justice. She, too, earned second-team All-ACC honors in 2016 after recording a team-high 43 aces, good for third-best in the ACC.

Williams returned to the team last season after twice breaking her foot in 2015 to rank fifth in the ACC with 438 kills in her first full season — earning first-team All-ACC honors in the process. The health and rehab science major logged a 3.571 GPA to earn her first All-ACC Academic honor.

Both Williams and Potts earned Honorable Mention AVCA Division I All-America honors after leading the Panthers to a 25-9 season which included a 3-1 victory over No. 23 Dayton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The four players honored Thursday brings Pitt’s total to 12 All-ACC Academic honorees this week among the fall 2016 sports.

First, Pitt women’s soccer goalkeeper Taylor Francis and men’s soccer defender Kevin Murray garnered All-ACC Academic recognition Tuesday. Then six members of the Pitt football team — offensive linemen Adam Bisnowaty and Alex Bookser, linebacker Matt Galambos, safety Reggie Mitchell, tight end Scott Orndoff and quarterback Nathan Peterman — received the honor Wednesday.