SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE RELEASES 2013 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL TEAM

Paige Williams (Jackson State) and Luiza Griz (Alabama State) received player of the year honors while
Jackson State and Prairie View A&M were selected to repeat as division favorites.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its 2013 SWAC Preseason Volleyball teams with Paige Williams (Jackson State) and Luiza Griz (Alabama State) tagged with player of the year honors.
Williams was voted SWAC Preseason Volleyball Player of the Year while Griz was selected as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The All-SWAC Preseason Volleyball teams and predicted order of finish was voted on by the conference coaches and sport information contacts. Points were compiled on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis for the predicted order of finish while head coaches and sport information contacts were not allowed to vote for his or her team.

Five schools posted at least two players on this year’s team with Alabama State, Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M, and Alabama A&M producing the most selections with three. ASU registered the most players on the first team landing all three selections. Jackson State’s two picks were also named to the first team.

Last season, Williams (MB • 6-1 • Sr. • Arlington, Texas) led the SWAC with 102 blocks averaging 1.17 per game. She helped JSU lead the league in blocks with 290 overall posting a team average of 2.27. The Lady Tigers captured the East Division title before winning a consecutive tournament crown behind a 22-match win streak. During the 2012 regular season, she received SWAC Defensive Player of the Week on three occasions en route to All-SWAC First Team and Tournament honors.

In 2012, Griz (DS • 5-7 • Sr. • Recife, Brazil) was named SWAC Defensive Player of the Year while receiving a first-team selection to All-SWAC Volleyball. She finished third in the SWAC and accounted for more than 25 percent of ASU’s digs recording 399 for a 3.2 per game average. She was tagged defensive player of the week twice last year.
Griz and Williams join outside hitters Chelsey Scott (Alabama State), Mona Reed (Texas Southern), Rachel Owens (Prairie View A&M), middle blocker Mikayla Rolle (Jackson State), and setter Brooke Beasley (Alabama State) on the All-SWAC First Team.

In the predicted order of finish in the Eastern Division, last season’s tournament champion Jackson State garnered 86 points with 15 first-place votes to become the preseason favorite.  Alabama A&M followed with 66 votes with Alabama State (61), Mississippi Valley State (46), and Alcorn State (31) closing out the prediction.

Prairie View A&M was tabbed the Western Division preseason winners with 82 points and 12 first-place votes. Texas Southern totaled 78 points and seven first-place votes for second with Arkansas-Pine Bluff (51), Southern (47) and Grambling State (37) closing out the division.

2013 ALL SWAC VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON TEAMS
Player of the Year
Paige Williams – Jackson State

First Team
Outside Hitters
Chelsey Scott – Alabama State
Mona Reed – Texas Southern
Rachel Owens – Prairie View A&M

Middle Blockers / Middle Hitters
Mikayla Rolle – Jackson State
Paige Williams – Jackson State

Setter
Brooke Beasley – Alabama State

Libero
Luiza Griz – Alabama State

Defensive Player of the Year
Luiza Griz – Alabama State

Second Team
Outside Hitters
Robyn Shannon – Texas Southern
Charae Caldwell – Prairie View A&M
Kyanna Sales – Alabama A&M

Middle Blockers / Middle Hitters
Leslie Ekpe – Alabama A&M
Veronica Azubuike – Texas Southern

Setter
Ashley Forman – Alabama A&M

Libero
Lakeisha Allen – Prairie View A&M

2013 Predicted Order of Finish
Eastern Division
Jackson State                              86 (15)
Alabama A&M                            66 (4)
Alabama State                             61 (1)
Mississippi Valley State             46
Alcorn State                                31

Western Division
Prairie View A&M                      82 (12)
Texas Southern                          78 (7)
Arkansas-Pine Bluff                   51
Southern                                     47 (1)
Grambling State                          32