PHILADELPHIA - Penn volleyball junior Dani Shepherd was named Northeast Region honorable mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Tuesday. The junior libero from Los Angeles becomes just the third Quaker in program history to be recognized by the AVCA, following in the footsteps of Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan - a Northeast All-Region pick in 2002 and 2003, as well as an AVCA honorable mention All-American in 2003 - and Megan Tryon, who earned Northeast Region honorable mention in 2009 and 2010.
Tuesday's announcement is just the latest in a string of honors for Penn's defensive whiz. After finishing third in NCAA Division I in digs per set as a sophomore, Shepherd upped her game even more in her junior campaign, leading the nation in digs (6.56 per set) and becoming the first-ever recipient of the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year award. She was also named the first-team All-Ivy libero for a second consecutive season.
Using performances such as Shepherd's individual match school record 46-dig effort at Delaware to full effect, Penn led not only the Ivy League, but all of NCAA Division I in digs per set with an average of 21.53. Coincidentally, it was Yale who came in second nationally, but the Bulldogs averaged a full two digs per set less than the Quakers.
Shepherd set a single-season program record with 617 digs this season, surpassing the previous record of 607 set by Madison Wojciechowski in 2009. Shepherd ended her junior season ranked third all-time in Penn history with 1,350 digs, and needs fewer than 200 to reach second place, currently held by Cara Thomason.