By Green Bay Athletics/Tori Wittenbrock
INDIANAPOLIS – Tuesday afternoon the Horizon League announced the 2023 Valeo #HLVB All-Academic Team. Tiffany Paalman received All-Academic accolades, while Abby Gardner was named honorable mention. The Honorable Mention Team is for student-athletes who received at least 25% of votes but did not make the All-Academic Team.
Paalman is currently pursuing a degree in Marine Biology, while Gardner is doing so in Nursing.
Tiffany Paalman’s season has been one to remember both on and off the volleyball court. Paalman finished third on the team with 306 kills, averaging 2.71 per set, and finished second in blocks with 91 total and 0.81 blocks per set. Paalman also led the Phoenix in hitting percentage at 0.286, finishing eighth in the Horizon League.
“It’s a difficult award to get as far as academics. You have to be at the top of your game. Tiffany is close to a 4.0 but she’s got biology and some really tough classes. She has amazing relationships with her professors who are helping her to her dream to be a marine biologist,” said Phoenix Head Coach Abbey Southerland.
“It’s kind of funny she’s in Green Bay, but it’s really a passion of hers. She has worked really hard to put herself in a position to get her degree, and she’s done it with really good grades, so I’m really proud of her for getting the award.”
Standout libero Abby Gardner was the second Phoenix honored by the league, being named All-Academic Honorable Mention. Gardner had a strong showing in her third season with the Phoenix, leading the team in digs with 410, and digs per set with 3.69, both marks good for seventh highest in the Horizon League. Gardner just passed 1,000 career digs for Green Bay this past weekend.
“Abby is going to be a nurse,” said Southerland. “We just got our grade reports back and her professors talked about what an amazing nurse she is going to be and what good grades she gets.”
“Recently I talked with her about her seeing dye being injected into a heart. It’s some really advanced stuff that she gets to now be a part of in a hospital. Her mom is also a nurse, so she kind of knows what that looks like, but she has been very focused since she was a freshman about being a nurse. It’s hard to do while also being a Division I athlete but she’s doing it well and they are both just crushing it,” said Southerland.
The Horizon League recognizes student-athletes with seasonal Academic All-League Teams in each of its 17 championship sports. To be eligible for Horizon League All-Academic consideration, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher (based on a 4.00 scale), have completed at least one year at the member institution, having earned 24 semester-hour or 36 quarter-hour credits and participate in 50 percent of the team’s overall contests.