AUSTIN, Texas – A two-time NAIA national champion and a school-record holder are Park University's representatives on the CoSIDA Academic All-America College Division At-Large Team. Victor Neves (men's volleyball) landed on the men's first team, and Makenzie Shivers (women's golf) earned a place on the second team for the women's award.
Both student-athletes completed their eligibility in the 2016-17 season, and Neves walked away with his second national championship in his four-year stint with the men's volleyball program. He was a pivotal part of the championship effort, totaling 129 kills and 10 service aces, offensively, while adding to the defensive effort for the Pirates with 109 digs and 24 blocks.
"A guy like Victor and what he means to our program doesn't come through on the box score a lot of the time," said Park volleyball coach Mike Talamantes. "He's a leader. He's positive on the court and he makes everyone else better around him, and he's the kind of guy who just wants to get the job done, even when that means the ball isn't going his way."
That leadership led to the Pirates' fifth national championship in school history and the first since Neves' freshman season in 2014.
Neves' grade point average shines above his numbers on the box score, as well, completing his academic career at Park University with a perfect 4.0. Neves is the second Academic All-American in Park men's volleyball history, joining Raphael Vieira, who was a second-team Academic All-American in Talamantes' first season in 2011-12. Neves is the first player in program history to land on the first team.
Another first for the Pirates was on the women's at-large team, where Shivers is the first golfer in program history to earn a spot on the Academic All-America At-Large Team, earning places on the last two Academic All-District squads.
Shivers broke Park's individual scoring record in her senior season, averaging 79.1 strokes per round through the 2016-17 campaign, leading the American Midwest Conference with four tournament wins and nine top-10 finishes. She was also the AMC Golfer of the Week a league-best four times in the 2016-17 season and was part of a team that broke Park's team scoring record by 11 strokes per round (336).
Never missing a start in her four-year career, dating back to 2013-14, Shivers broke a school record with 73 rounds played in her four seasons while maintaining a 3.97 grade point average. She graduated in May with a degree in interior design.
"Makenzie was about as reliable as someone could be over a four-year span for our program and certainly left a lasting mark on Park University golf," said outgoing Park golf coach Steve Wilson, who is now the Pirates' Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations and Compliance. "She made that lineup decision very easy, as good and consistent as she was on the golf course, and she was someone you didn't have to worry about in the classroom. She's the kind of player and student you want to recruit."
For more about the entire 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Teams, visit http://cosida.com/news/2017/6/5/AAA_0605174343.aspx, and for award criteria, see http://cosida.com/sports/2015/9/29/AAA_landingpage.aspx.