BIRMINGHAM – The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its 2010 preseason softball honors Thursday, with Southern’s Audrey Phillips and Mississippi Valley State’s Lisa Jansen claiming top honors. The teams were voted on by the schools’ coaches and sports information departments.
Phillips – a 5-foot-4 sophomore shortstop – has been named the 2010 Preseason Player of the Year. Phillips had an exceptional freshman campaign in 2009 for the Jaguars. She ranked eighth in the conference and second on her team with a .370 batting average. The Mansfield, TX native also finished the season ranked first in the SWAC in triples (8), third in hits (54), sixth in doubles (11) and eighth in runs scored (33). Her efforts helped guide the Jaguars to a number one seed in the Western division for the Conference tournament as well as a spot in the 2009 championship game. Along with being named to the 2009 SWAC First-Team, Phillips garnered SWAC Freshman of the Year accolades.
Jansen – a 5-foot-9 senior from Dietzenbach, Germany – has been selected the Preseason Pitcher of the Year. In 2009, Jansen ranked first on her team and second in the SWAC with a 2.64 earned run average. She also led the SWAC in wins (15), opposing bating average (.216) and batters struck out (144). Jansen’s performance helped the Devilettes to a 17-0 conference record in 2009 and a sixth consecutive SWAC softball title. For her efforts, Jansen was named the 2009 SWAC Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year and a first-team honoree.
In the predicted order of finish, Southern and Mississippi Valley State have been selected to win its respective divisions in 2010. The two teams have met in the conference tournament championship game five times over the past six years with the Devilettes emerging the victors in each game. MVSU has claimed the last six conference titles, while SU last won the title in 2003.
In the Western division, Southern collected 11 first-place votes en route to 77 voting points. Grambling State (two first-place votes) was second with 57 points while Arkansas-Pine Bluff (one first-place vote) was third with 47 points. Texas Southern (one first-place vote) registered 43 points and Prairie View A&M (two first-place votes) tallied 31 to round out the Western division.
In the Eastern division, six-time defending champion Mississippi Valley State was chosen first with 14 first-place votes as it received 82 points. Jackson State (three first-place votes) accumulated 65 points for second place while Alcorn State with 44 points was picked third. Alabama State (49 pts) and Alabama A&M (25 pts) close out the Eastern divisional list.
Mississippi Valley State led the way with seven players chosen for preseason honors – four on first team. Southern had five representatives on the preseason team, while Alabama State had three selections and Jackson State and Grambling State each had two. Alabama A&M, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern all had one player on the preseason squad