BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Two-time defending champion Alabama State has been selected as the preseason favorite for the upcoming Southwestern Athletic Conference volleyball season, as the league announced preseason honors.
The Lady Hornets, who seek their third-straight championship, were chosen as favorites in a vote conducted by the conference’s sports information directors and head coaches. Alabama State, who finished 28-11 (18-0 SWAC) last season and is currently riding a 42-match win streak against conference opposition, tallied 155 total points and 12 first-place votes, beating out 2017 finalist Texas Southern (129 points).
Alabama A&M was selected to finish third (117 points). Arkansas-Pine Bluff racked up 93 points, good for fourth. Prairie View A&M (85), Grambling State (82), Southern (81) and Jackson State (76) followed. Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State rounded out the standings with 32 and 30 points, respectively.
Additionally, Texas Southern middle blocker/hitter Kirby Anderson and Prairie View A&M libero Christen Augustine nabbed preseason individual honors. Anderson was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year, and Augustine – the 2017 SWAC Libero of the Year – earned preseason defensive player of the year honors.
Anderson, a 2017 first-team All-SWAC player and a member of the 2018 preseason first-team, posted 227 kills to just 71 errors, notching an impressive .335 attack percentage, which is tops among returning players with qualifying standard minimums. The senior from Duncanville, Texas averaged 2.23 kills per set, and was a dynamic force on the defensive end as well, posting 130 total blocks. She is one of three Lady Tigers to garner preseason honors.
Augustine, also a first-team selection for the 2018 preseason volleyball team, led the conference in digs per set (4.43) last season, ranking fourth in the league with 440 total digs in anchoring the back end of the Lady Panthers’ defense and posting 20 matches with at least 10 or more digs.
Listed below are all selections for the 2018 Preseason All-SWAC Volleyball Teams.
PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Kirby Anderson, MB/MH, Texas Southern
PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Christen Augustine, DS, Prairie View A&M
2018 PRESEASON ALL-SWAC FIRST TEAM
OH – Bayle’ Bennett, Alabama State; OH – Lisa Casimie, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; RS – Kevreion Ward, Grambling State
RS – Paige Hall, Southern; MB/MH – Kirby Anderson, Texas Southern; MB/MH – Payten Clark, Alabama State;
S – Kori Kutsch, Alabama State; S – Asia Howard, Texas Southern; DS/L – Christen Augustine, Prairie View A&M
2018 PRESEASON ALL-SWAC SECOND TEAM
OH – Krysta Medearis, Alabama State; OH – Alexis Austin, Texas Southern; RS – Tess Reynolds, Grambling State
RS – Singryd Valadares, Alcorn State; MB/MH – Candace Martin, Alabama State; MB/MH – Arabella Hall, Southern; S – Meredith Sieck, Alabama A&M; S – Britney Sahlmann, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; DS/L – Erineka Mollere, Grambling State