Jenilee Rathje Named Second-Team Academic All-American

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State volleyball senior Jenilee Rathje was selected to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America Division I Volleyball Second Team, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Jenilee,” said head coach Cathy George. “It was one of the goals that Jenilee and I talked about at the beginning of the season, and I am so happy that she was able to achieve both academic and athletic All-America awards this season. It is a difficult and challenging honor to receive, and I am pleased that her career could conclude with these outstanding accomplishments.”

Rathje becomes just the third Spartan to earn the Academic All-America honors, joining Dana Cooke (1995-third team, 1996-first team) and Val Sterk (1996-third team). Since the inception of the award in 1952, she is also just the 63rd Michigan State student-athlete in any sport to be recognized.

A kinesiology major, Rathje was named to the first-team Academic All-District team earlier this season, placing her on the ballot for national recognition. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30, and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution.

The Mount Pleasant, Mich., native led the team in kills this season with 505 (4.17 per set), which ranks third in the Big Ten and top-25 in the nation. Her kill total was a career high and is the 10th-most in a MSU single-season. She also finished the season third on the team in digs with 257 (2.12 a set) and fifth in blocks with 61 (0.50 a set).

For her career, the Mt. Pleasant, Mich., native, is first in MSU history in sets played (496) and matches played (142), seventh in block assists (333) and eighth in kills (1,504).

Rathje was recently named an All-Big Ten selection, becoming the seventh Spartan to earn back-to-back first team honors, and was picked as an Academic All-Big Ten selection and as MSU's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.