PHILADELPHIA – The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) released its choices on Wednesday for the NCAA Division I All-American Teams, and Penn junior libero Dani Shepherd was named as an honorable mention All-America selection. She joins Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan in 2003 as the only two Quakers in program history to garner this prestigious award.
The Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Ivy selection for the second year running, Shepherd was one of only two Ivy League athletes to make the cut, joining Yale’s Kendall Polan as an honorable mention choice. In her junior season, Shepherd led the nation in digs per set (6.56), helping Penn to a national-best 21.53 digs per set.
The Los Angeles native set a single-season Penn record with 617 digs in 2012, passing the previous record of 607 set by Madison Wojciechowski in 2009. Most impressively, Shepherd needed only 25 matches to reach her mark while Wojciechowski played in 29 matches during the 2009 season.
In the Penn single-match digs category, Shepherd holds the top four spots and five of the top six after the 2012 season. Her previous school-record of 45 from the 2011 season was broken with a 46-dig effort in a five-set win over Delaware (9/19/12), and she added 43 digs just three days later in another five-set affair with Princeton (9/22/12).
Shepherd will return next season for her senior campaign, joining a talented core that will look to contend for the top spot in the Ancient Eight. Already with 1,350 digs in three seasons in the Red and Blue, she will likely continue to rise in the Penn annals after ending this season ranked third in program history in the category. Only Wojciechowski (2,141) and Cara Thomason (1,525) have produced more in their years playing for the Quakers.