Kentucky volleyball senior Ashley Dusek has been named to the list of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS award, Premier Sports Management announced on Tuesday. The award is given to a single Division I volleyball student-athlete who excels both on and off the court.
“This is a great honor for Ashley and she is very deserving,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “I would put Ashley up against anybody for this award. Her being included in a great group of seniors says a lot about her on and off the court.”
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.
Dusek is set to graduate in May with a degree in Integrated Strategic Communication. The East Bernard, Texas native is a three-time member of the All-Southeastern Conference Academic team and was also a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-Region Team.
Dusek has been a team captain for each of the last two years. During the spring of 2017, she suffered a knee injury that kept her out of the majority of spring competition, all of summer workouts and early season training before returning to practice at full capacity in early September this season. She was a fierce supporter of her team, leading many of the cheers from the bench, and played a particular role in being a mentor to freshman libero, Gabby Curry. Dusek eventually returned to wear the libero jersey in the fourth set of a match vs. Marquette and immediately made her presence felt recording 10 digs in the frame as UK went on to win the match. In the midst of waiting on her time to return to the court, Dusek’s family–in East Bernard, Texas–was affected by Hurricane Harvey. Her family’s home, as well as her grandparents’ home were under water and damaged. Dusek never flinched, however, and continued to be the strong supporter of her team until she made her way back onto the court.
After she graduates college, Dusek wants to pursue an internship in the communications field. She would also like to explore coaching volleyball.
On the court, Dusek is a two-time honorable mention AVCA All-American. She has been tabbed the SEC Libero of the Year in each of the last two seasons, as well as being named to the All-SEC squad. She’s logged 500 or more digs in each of the last two seasons, and her 566 during her sophomore campaign ranks as the third-most in a single season in the 25-point era.
Dusek currently sits at No. 3 in the 25-point rally scoring era with 1,276 digs and ninth in aces with 56. She’s had double-digit digs in every match she has started this season.
In the community, Dusek has volunteered at organizations like the Special Olympics, the YMCA and local nursing homes in the area. She has been heavily involved with UK’s backpack program, servicing the community through God’s Pantry. She also volunteered at local elementary schools with their reading programs and promoting “safe kids at school.” Furthermore, she has worked the campus-wide move-in day, helping incoming UK freshmen move into their dorms. Additionally, Dusek is a mainstay at the highly-popular UK volleyball camps.
The 30 candidates 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 exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in December.
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