This has been a memorable week for Nebraska senior outside hitter Gina Mancuso, who was honored with three big awards — one of which is goes to only one player in the country — and recruited to play professional indoor volleyball.
* Tuesday morning: Only a few days after the 10th-ranked Huskers’ season ended with a loss to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, a representative for a team in Puerto Rico signed Mancuso to a professional contract. She’ll join her new team, Ponce, next month and will be gone about five months.
* Wednesday morning: Mancuso was selected as a second-team All-American, her second national honor in the past two seasons. She was a first-team All-American in 2011 when she helped Nebraska win the Big Ten Championship. This year, Mancuso led Nebraska with 428 kills, including three 20-kill matches. She also had a team-best 34 ace serves.
Along with teammates Lauren Cook, Hannah Werth and coach John Cook, Mancuso is at the NCAA Tournament Final Four in Louisville, Ky., to be recognized for being an All-American.
* Thursday morning: Mancuso was named a first-team Academic All-American. A marketing major at Nebraska, Mancuso has been a member of two Academic All-Big Ten teams and was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection in 2010.
To be eligible for the award, athletes must maintain a 3.30 grade-point average and play in at least 50 percent of the team’s matches.
In volleyball, Nebraska has a nation-leading 37 Academic All-Americans. Nebraska’s last volleyball Academic All-American came in 2009, when Kori Cooper earned her second straight honor.
* Thursday afternoon: Mancuso picked up another national honor when she was named the Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I volleyball.
Mancuso was chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans. The award is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. 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 — classroom, community, character and competition.
She is Nebraska’s second winner of the award. Women’s basketball player Kelsey Griffin earned the honor in 2010.
“It is an honor to be named the winner of the Senior CLASS Award,” Mancuso said in a statement. “It is a blessing and is a reflection of all the people who have had an influence on my life and have supported me along the way, including my family, friends, coaches, teammates and teachers. I would also like to thank all the fans around the country who showed their support by voting for me.”
A two-year member of the student-athlete advisory committee, she most recently served as its community outreach officer. Mancuso is a member of the Husker Connect mentoring program and is a motivational speaker for a local foster care camp.
In high school, Mancuso was named the 2008 Gatorade National Player of the Year while playing at Papillion-La Vista, becoming the first high school athlete from Nebraska to earn Gatorade honors.
“Gina is a great example of a high school superstar who waited patiently for her time to shine in college,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. “With Nebraska’s great history of outstanding volleyball players, Gina had to earn her playing time. When she got her turn, she made the most of it by becoming another Husker volleyball legend.”