Loudonville, N.Y. - Siena's Lesli Akeo is one of 30 Division I volleyball players under consideration for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. The Saints libero is the only student from the MAAC, and remarkably the only student in the Northeast to make the final 30.
To be eligible for the award, a student athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior, and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student athlete, and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Akeo (Kapolei, Hawaii/Kamehameha) has done exactly that at Siena.
On the court, Akeo will go down as one of the finest volleyball players in school history. The reigning MAAC co-Defensive Player of the Year has already smashed the program's all-time digs mark, posting 1,816 in 98 matches played. Akeo ranked 10th nationally in digs per set entering the week, and was named MAAC Libero of the Week Monday.
"Lesli is the top defensive player in the MAAC, and arguably the greatest volleyball player Siena has ever had," head coach Garvey Pierre said. "She gives us a chance in every match, because she never gives up and keeps rallies alive. She has taken on a great leadership role this season, and helps our younger players understand what it takes to win. She is a pleasure to coach."
Akeo's off-the-court resume is equally impressive. She carries a 3.73 GPA in management, has been featured in the Siena Business Report, and is a two-time MAAC All-Academic and MAAC Honor Roll selection. This summer she attended the NCAA Career in Sports forum in Indianapolis.
Akeo has also given back to the community. In her native Hawaii, she volunteered for the annual King Kamehameha Celebration and helped out at area sports clinics. This past May, she went on a service mission to Bethel, Alaska.
Akeo is also one of the founding members of Siena's Polynesian Culture Club.
The 2012 candidate class includes 16 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans from last season. Twenty-four of the 30 candidates have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better. One of the candidates was recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America as a 2011 Capital One Academic All-American. The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, which will take place December 13 and 15 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
ABOUT THE AWARD
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Premier Sports Management manages the award.
ABOUT THE NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletics opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit NCAA.org and NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.