NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 2, 2019 – Florida A&M senior outside hitter Maria Yvette Garcia was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year, the conference announced today. Maryland Eastern Shore was predicted to claim the Northern Division, while Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman were both tapped to be atop the Southern Division.
All awards were voted on by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.
Garcia was second in the MEAC in kills per set in 2018 at 3.87 as she led the Lady Rattlers to the Southern Division top seed in the MEAC Championship. Her 4.37 points per set were the third-most in the conference, and she had five matches last season in which she recorded at least 20 kills – including a pair of 25-kill matches (against VCU and in the MEAC Championship quarterfinals against Morgan State).
She was also third on the team with 203 total digs – an average of 2.05 per set – and she was tied for second on the team with 24 service aces.
Joining Garcia on the Preseason All-MEAC team were Bethune-Cookman outside hitter Jordan Jefferson, Coppin State outside hitter/middle Miajavon Coleman (the reigning MEAC Rookie of the Year), defending champion Howard’s Kira Porter (middle blocker), Jurnee Tipton (outside hitter) and Fola Wilson (libero) and North Carolina A&T State outside hitter Courteney Pitt.
Howard, which has won the last four MEAC volleyball titles, went 9-1 in league play last season to clinch another Northern Division regular-season crown. The Bison were picked to do so again this season, racking up 15 first-place votes and 125 points. Maryland Eastern Shore (four first-place votes) was picked to finish second.
Morgan State, Coppin State, Delaware State and Norfolk State rounded out the Northern Division poll.
In the Southern Division, rivals Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman each collected 88 points to serve as co-favorites. The Lady Rattlers racked up 10 first-place votes compared to five for the Lady Wildcats. North Carolina A&T State, which advanced to the title match of last year’s tournament, was not far behind – receiving 87 points and seven first-place votes.
North Carolina Central and South Carolina State wrapped up the Southern Division predicted order of finish.
The 2019 season begins on Friday, Aug. 30, with conference play kicking off on Friday, Sept. 27.
The 2019 MEAC Volleyball Championship will be held Friday-Sunday, Nov. 22-24, at Burr Gymnasium on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the tournament.