Posted On: December 17, 2015
Overland Park, Kansas – North Carolina middle hitter Paige Neuenfeldt was named to the Senior CLASS Award All-America First Team on Thursday, recognizing her outstanding efforts on and off the court. Given to Division I senior student-athletes with notable achievements in the four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition, Neuenfeldt was one of five seniors in the nation named to the First Team, including 2015 Senior CLASS Award winner Cassie Strickland of the University of Washington.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. A model student-athlete both on and off the court, Neuenfeldt became the Tar Heels' first-ever Academic All-American this fall, being named one of six student-athletes in the nation named to the First Team.
A Third-Team AVCA All-American and a First-Team All-ACC honoree, Neuenfeldt took home over 33 percent of the national fan vote, more than double any of the other nine finalists. The Birmingham, Michigan, native is the third Tar Heel to be named to the First Team since the award was extended to volleyball in 2010, joining Kaylie Gibson (2011) and Chaniel Nelson (2014) in that elite company.
A student in UNC's prestigious Kenan-Flagler Business School, Neuenfeldt earned a spot on both the ACC Honor Roll and the All-ACC Academic Team the past three seasons and became the program's first-ever Academic All-American as a senior. In addition to being a top student, Neuenfeldt is also the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), which helps to promote communication between administration, coaches and students-athletes.
Neuenfeldt has been an outstanding example of what it means to be a student-athlete at the Division I level. She personifies the dedication to her academics and athletics, and she demonstrates a commitment to giving back to the community. The entire athletic department is so proud of what she represents: what is good in college athletics both on and off the court. As an athlete, she is motivated and plays with energy that is contagious to her teammates and the fans who support the team. She has performed at the highest level and been an impact player since her freshman year. As a student, she strives to be exceptional in the classroom and her record has demonstrated that effort as one of the top students at UNC. In addition to all her work, she is always one of the first players to volunteer her time with outreach and clinics, as well as taking time to visiting people in the community. She has a personality that people love being around. Neuenfeldt represents Carolina in a first class manner.
Neuenfeldt is active in the Chapel Hill and surrounding communities both with the UNC volleyball team and as the president of SAAC. She has spent time in local elementary schools and during the 2013-14 school year where she worked with the Tar Heel Navigators program that met monthly with local fifth-graders to provide leadership lessons and mentoring. To supplement her minor in Spanish, she has spent the past year volunteering in a bilingual pre-k classroom on a weekly basis.
The first volleyball player in UNC history to earn honorable-mention All-America recognition three times, she received her fourth career national honor earlier this week, earning a spot on the AVCA All-America Third Team. A four-time AVCA All-Region and three-time All-ACC selection, Neuenfeldt began her career by being named ACC and AVCA Region Freshman of the Year. A dominant blocker, Neuenfeldt broke the Carolina career records for total blocks, block assists and blocks per set, while recording the second-highest hitting percentage in UNC history.
Senior CLASS Award Winner
Cassie Strickland, Washington
Morgan Bergren, Kentucky
Jordan Burgess, Stanford
Paige Neuenfeldt, North Carolina
Amanda Orchard, Pittsburgh
Cassie Strickland, Washington
Kierra Holst, Oklahoma
Molly McCage, Texas
Taylor Morey, Wisconsin
Shelby Sullivan, Texas A&M
Nicole Walch, Florida State