NEW YORK, N.Y. – Lauren Carlini, the only four-time All-American in Wisconsin volleyball history, was named the 2017 AAU James E. Sullivan Award winner as the most outstanding U.S. amateur athlete who also demonstrates premier leadership, character and sportsmanship at a reception Tuesday night at the New York Athletic Club. She is the first UW student-athlete to win the prestigious award as well as the first volleyball player, male or female, to win.
“I’m honored to be a part of this group,” Carlini said of her fellow finalists during her acceptance speech. “Everyone knows them as amazing athletes but they are even more amazing people.
“I’m honored to be the first volleyball player to win this award,” Carlini continued. “I hope that this starts gaining popularity for the sport. Volleyball’s growing and gaining popularity so I hope this kind of keeps it going."
A 6-foot-2 setter, Carlini earned four All-America honors during her career, including three first-team accolades. She was named the 2014 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year and earned four first-team all-conference awards. The Aurora, Illinois, native was also a two-time Big Ten Setter of the Year and was named the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
A standout in the classroom, Carlini was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and earned Academic All-America honors in 2016.
During her four seasons, the Badgers qualified for four straight NCAA tournaments, advancing to at least the Elite Eight round each season. Wisconsin competed in the championship match in 2013 and lost to the eventual NCAA champions three different years. UW also never finished lower than fourth in the Big Ten standings in her four years, winning the championship in 2014.