Blue Jays Volleyball Team Receives Prestigious USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award 



Fulton, Mo. – July 13, 2023: The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced today that the Westminster Blue Jays volleyball team has received the prestigious 2023 USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award.

The recognition is a collaboration with a long history between the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). Together, the two organizations have recognized academically high-achieving volleyball teams since 1992.

To receive the award, teams must collectively achieve a year-long grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. Westminster is among four NCAA Division III colleges in Missouri to receive the Team Academic Award this year.

AVCA CEO Jamie Gordon emphasized in an AVCA press release that the recognition is a reflection of coaching excellence.

“The commitment our coaches make to help their student-athletes pursue the best versions of themselves is evident in the academic accomplishments highlighted today,” Gordon said.

Under the leadership of Dalton Tucker, Westminster’s head volleyball coach, the Blue Jays this season advanced to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Conference Tournament, where they defeated the previously undefeated Greenville University Panthers in the semifinals. The Blue Jays then advanced to the championship game, losing to Fontbonne University after a tremendous effort. 

“I am extremely proud of our team and their work ethic,” Tucker says. “Our student-athletes attend Westminster to focus strongly on academics while remaining NCAA athletes with a commitment to excellence, and this award is a testament to how hard they work both on and off the court.”

ABOUT THE BLUE JAYS AND WESTMINSTER COLLEGE: The Department of Athletics at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, boasts 18 varsity sports teams and is a member of the NCAA Division III, the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC). Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College is ranked prestigiously by The Princeton Review as one of the “Best 150 colleges in the Midwest” for 2024. In 2023, the independent think tank Third Way singled out the small, private college as one of the nation’s best among colleges and universities in the United States in terms of economic mobility and return on investment. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report places Westminster in a unique category by itself, listing it as the only National Liberal Arts college in Missouri. New Westminster alumni experience a more than 90 percent placement rate in jobs or graduate school within six months of graduation. Westminster has long been recognized for its focus on educating and inspiring students to make an impact on the world around them. Find out more about Westminster by visiting our website. To learn more about America’s National Churchill Museum, go to

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Sarah Backer at 573-220-9038 or

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.