OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Kentucky volleyball senior libero Ashley Dusek has been named a finalist for the Senior CLASS award, Premier Sports Management announced Friday. The award is given to a single Division I volleyball student-athlete who excels both on and off the court.
The finalists were chosen by a selection committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in October. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through December 4. Fan votes will then be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award recipient will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in December.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. 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.
Dusek is set to graduate in May with a degree in Integrated Strategic Communication. The East Bernard, Texas native is a three-time member of the All-Southeastern Conference Academic team and was also a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-Region Team. Dusek has been a team captain for each of the last two years. During the spring of 2017, she suffered a knee injury that kept her out of the majority of spring competition, all of summer workouts and early season training before returning to practice at full capacity in early September this season. She was a fierce supporter of her team, leading many of the cheers from the bench, and played a particular role in being a mentor to freshman libero, Gabby Curry. Dusek eventually returned to wear the libero jersey in the fourth set of a match vs. Marquette and immediately made her presence felt recording 10 digs in the frame as UK went on to win the match. In the midst of waiting on her time to return to the court, Dusek's family-in East Bernard, Texas-was affected by Hurricane Harvey. Her family's home, as well as her grandparents' home were under water and damaged. Dusek never flinched, however, and continued to be the strong supporter of her team until she made her way back onto the court.
After she graduates college, Dusek wants to pursue an internship in the communications field. She would also like to explore coaching volleyball.
On the court, Dusek is a two-time honorable mention AVCA All-American. She has been tabbed the SEC Libero of the Year in each of the last two seasons, as well as being named to the All-SEC squad. She's logged 500 or more digs in each of the last two seasons, and her 566 during her sophomore campaign ranks as the third-most in a single season in the 25-point era. This season, Dusek has recorded double-digits in every match she's started after coming back from her injury. She's currently third in the 25-point rally scoring era in digs with 1,414.
In the community, Dusek has volunteered at organizations like the Special Olympics, the YMCA and local nursing homes in the area. She has been heavily involved with UK's backpack program, servicing the community through God's Pantry. She also volunteered at local elementary schools with their reading programs and promoting "safe kids at school." Furthermore, she has worked the campus-wide move-in day, helping incoming UK freshmen move into their dorms. Additionally, Dusek is a mainstay at the highly-popular UK volleyball camps.