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Virginia athletes highlight 2019 All-ACC Academic Teams

Two Cavaliers secured ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors

<p>Men’s soccer’s Joe Bell and field hockey‘s Rachel Robinson were both named Scholar-Athlete of the Year for their respective sports.</p>

Men’s soccer’s Joe Bell and field hockey‘s Rachel Robinson were both named Scholar-Athlete of the Year for their respective sports.

All-ACC Academic Teams for 2019 fall sports were officially announced this past week by the league office. Multiple Virginia standouts were honored across a variety of sports.

Thirteen men’s and women’s soccer players landed on the teams. Women’s soccer led all schools with eight selections, while men’s soccer was tied for the most players, as it was honored with five. 

On the women’s side, senior defender Zoe Morse — the leader of Virginia’s backline — was selected to the All-ACC Academic Team for the third time in her career. Senior forward Meghan McCool and sophomore forwards Rebecca Jarrett and Alexa Spaanstra all earned their second selections. A trio of juniors — goalkeeper Laurel Ivory and midfielders Anna Sumpter and Taryn Torres — and freshman defender Talia Staude earned a spot on the team as well.

For the men, three defenders made the All-ACC Academic Team, including team captain senior Robin Afamefuna, junior Henry Kessler and freshman Andreas Ueland. Juniors goalkeeper Colin Shutler and former midfielder Joe Bell joined the defensive trio as well. 

Bell also took home the prestigious honor of 2019 ACC Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The award is yet another accomplishment for the highly decorated Bell. He was previously named the United Soccer Coaches Scholar Player of the Year, the ACC Midfielder of the Year and a first team All-American. 

After an impressive season, Virginia football reached another milestone after 10 players were named to the All-ACC Academic Team — the program’s most selections in a single year. 

Senior linebacker Jordan Mack and junior offensive tackle Dillon Reinkensmeyer both earned their third consecutive selection, while senior wide receiver Joe Reed was honored for the second straight season.

Seven Cavaliers were named to the team for the first time, including seniors defensive end Eli Hanback, quarterback Bryce Perkins and tight end Tanner Cowley. Juniors punter Nash Griffin, safety Joey Blount and wide receiver Terrell Jana and sophomore offensive tackle Bobby Haskins were also honored. 

Virginia had more football players who were on both the All-ACC Academic Team and the All-ACC team than any other team in the conference. These five Cavaliers are Perkins, Hanback, Reed, Blount and Mack.

Virginia field hockey, following a Final Four run in November, had eight players selected for the All-ACC Academic Team — tied with Louisville for the most honorees in the conference.

Junior midfielder Rachel Robinson was named the 2019 ACC Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year — one of the many recognitions she’s earned this season. Robinson was also a first team All-American and first team All-ACC selection.

In addition to Robinson, seniors striker Erin Shanahan and back Anzel Viljoen, sophomores back Amber Ezechiels, midfielders Greer Gill and Annie McDonough and goalkeeper Lauren Hausheer and freshman back Cato Geusgens were among the 42 total players named to the team.

In volleyball, Virginia’s offensive leader senior right-side hitter Jelena Novakovic was selected to All-ACC Academic Team. This year, Novakovic was both effective — leading all Cavaliers with 286 kills — and efficient — hitting a career-high 0.228. Novakovic also recorded the second-most aces in the ACC with 42 on the season.

For cross country, three Cavaliers were named to the team — sophomore Peter Morris and seniors AJ Ernst and Randy Neish. Both Ernst and Morris earned All-ACC and All-Southeast Region honors. 

Morris, Neish and Ernst placed 64th, 110th and 159th, respectively, at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, helping Virginia secure a 20th-place finish.

The All-ACC Academic Team recognizes players for their academic and athletic achievement. Minimum requirements to be eligible for consideration include earning a 3.0 grade point average in the previous semester and a 3.0 cumulative average over the course of one’s academic career. Recent athletic accomplishments and performances are also considered.