CAMBRIDGE, MASS. – Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind.) and Amy Keding (Northbrook, Ill.) of the University of New Hampshire volleyball team were among a group of eight student-athletes named to the 2010 America East Volleyball All-Academic team as announced by the league office Tuesday, December 14. These student athletes, who excel both academically as well as athletically, represent the best of the America East Conference.
Heldman, who carries a 3.36 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in exercise science, became the first America East student-athlete to earn both Setter of the Year and Defensive Specialist of the Year honors. She was the 2010 America East Setter of the Year and was also selected as the co-Defensive Specialist of the Year last season. In 2010, Heldman recorded 9.11 assists per set in addition to 2.76 digs per set. The senior served up 16 aces and recorded 26 blocks on the year. Heldman finished her final year at New Hampshire with a team-leading 13 double-doubles. She was named the Setter of the Week three times this season. Heldman ended her tenure in Durham with 104 sets and finished with 287 digs. She became the first player in program history to win Setter of the Year and is a two-time All-America East honoree. Heldman is just the second player in UNH history to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 assists.
Keding, who boasts a 3.50 GPA in education and chemistry, emerged as one the league's top offensive players earning America East All-Conference honors during her junior campaign. She paced a well-balanced offensive attack for the Wildcats and was among the league leaders in several categories. Overall, she ranked ninth in points and fourth in kills. She ranked second on the team in kills (297) and points (339) and was third in blocks (62). Keding was the America East Player of the Week on Sept. 27.
The All-Academic squads are a product of the June 2005 Athletics Directors meeting where faculty representatives and athletics directors from each of the conference's nine member institutions decided to honor the league's top student-athletes, who excel equally in the classroom as they do on the playing field.
For the third straight year, America East selected the All-Academic teams using CoSIDA's Academic All-America program as a model. Student-athletes worthy of consideration are nominated by member sports information directors and voted on by a committee of SIDs, academic advisors and faculty representatives from all nine member institutions.
All-Academic squads for team sports are based on the maximum number of athletes that participate in a contest at one time (e.g., seven on the court in volleyball) but can be more if there is a tie in voting. To be nominated for the distinction, student-athletes must be a starter or important reserve for their team and participate in at least 50 percent of their team's games or competitions. In the classroom, student-athletes must have a 3.30 GPA and have completed at least one calendar year at their institution. Freshmen are not eligible for consideration.