Katherine Culwell, outside hitter for Auburn University’s women volleyball team, is the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week.
“It is a great honor,” Culwell said. “I’ve been working really hard and I will continue to try my hardest because of the goals we have set for the years to come.”
Culwell is number six on the team and one of 10 newcomers.
She has earned the Auburn volleyball program its first Freshman of the Week award since the establishment of the honor in 2005.
She was named Most Valuable Player of the first three games in the War Eagle Invitational.
“I’m very proud of Katherine and her efforts from this weekend,” said Wade Benson, volleyball head coach. “This shows we are moving in the right direction as a program and we look to continue to build on what we accomplished this weekend as a team.”
Culwell is a 6-foot-tall 18-year-old chemical engineering major and has been playing volleyball since the sixth grade.
In 2008 she was Texas Class 4A Player of the Year and All-Area Player of the Year, earning four letters for volleyball in high school.
Culwell is also a four-time Academic All-District selection and a member of the Natonal Honor Society.
“My role on the team is to play at a high level and compete,” Culwell said. “I have a lot to learn and my opportunity to play helps me figure out what I need to work on to be better.”
Volleyball, the SEC and the weather is what brought Culwell from Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, to Auburn.
Culwell said she became a Tiger and chose to move here because the pride and school spirit of Auburn University itself.
“Katherine helps complete the puzzle for our team,” said Alyssa Davis, middle blocker and a junior in psychology. “I have only known her for a month, but I expect great things from her and the team as a whole.”
The volleyball program was reinstated and has been active for 23 years with a record of 341-373.
It has won the SEC Championship and was Co-West Champions in 1996. The last winning season was in 1999, with a record of 11-4.
In 2008 the volleyball team finished sixth in the SEC West. Their record was 6-25 and 1-19 in the SEC.
The team’s overall record in 2009 so far is 5-2 with no conference wins or losses, 4-0 at home, 0-1 away and 1-1 at neutral sites.
The Student Activities Center, where the volleyball team plays all of its home games, seats 2,000 people and the Tigers are hoping to see more fans come support them.
The team hosted Jacksonville State on Tuesday and travels to Statesboro, Ga., for the Georgia Southern Tournament.
They will play Coastal Carolina at 4 p.m., Friday, Wake Forest at 9 a.m. and Georgia Southern at 6 p.m., Saturday.