BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Karensa Beckford (Alabama A&M) and Roselande Corneille (Alabama State) were named the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Volleyball Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, the league announced today. Preseason honors were voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
Alabama A&M, the defending SWAC champion and Prairie View A&M, the 2010 western division champion, were picked to win their respective divisions. The Lady Bulldogs totaled 15 first-place votes and 93 points out of a possible 100, while the Lady Panthers collected 12 first-place votes with 87 points.
Beckford, a 6-0 right side from St. Anne Bay, Jamaica, ranked second in the conference in hitting percentage (.364) and kills per set (3.43) last season. She was named SWAC Tournament MVP and led her squad to its fourth straight conference championship in 2010. Beckford was recently named to COBRA Magazine All-Preseason Second Team.
Corneille, a 5-7 libero from Dacula, Ga., led the conference in digs last season averaging 5.50 digs per set. She also ranked 58th in the nation in digs and was named the SWAC Libero of the Year in 2010.
Receiving four first-place votes in the eastern division was Jackson State, who was predicted to finish second with 79 points. Mississippi Valley State (54 points), Alabama State (47 points) and Alcorn State (27 points) round out the eastern division.
In the west, Arkansas-Pine Bluff was predicted second with 59 points, followed by Southern with 55 points. Grambling State (54 points) and Texas Southern (47 points) complete the predicted order of finish.
The 2011 volleyball season gets underway Friday, August 26 with nine teams taking the court. The SWAC Volleyball Championship will be held November 19-20 in Westwego, La. at the Alario Center.