BIRMINGHAM – Jackson State duo Christine Edwards and Paige Williams were selected Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. Preseason honors were voted on by league head coaches.
Edwards, a 5-10, Senior, outside hitter from Lakewood, CA was not only a member of the 2011 All-SWAC first team, but she was also Newcomer of the Year. She was named SWAC tournament MVP after leading the Lady Tigers to their first ever title. Edwards was member of the 2011 COBRA Magazine All-National Player second team and COBRA Magazine All-Southeast Region team. During the season, she was voted SWAC Newcomer of the Week three times. Edwards led the sWAC in kills with 579. She was second in the conference in kills per game with 4.23.
Williams, a 6-2, Junior, middle blocker/outside hitter from Arlington, Texas was a member of the 2011 All-SWAC first team. She earned Cobra Magazine All-Southeast Region team honorable mention and was named SWAC Defensive Player of the Week during the season. She led the SWAC in solo blocks with 48 and was second in the conference in hitting percentage.
Defending SWAC champion Jackson State and Prairie View A&M, the 2011 Western division champion, were picked to win their respective divisions. The Lady Tigers totaled four first-place votes and 44 points, while the seven of the 10 league coaches voted the Lady Panthers first. PVAM collected 47 points, the clear cut favorite in the West.
The SWAC coaches predicted another battle between JSU and Alabama A&M as the Lady Bulldogs were picked a close second in the East with 42 points. Alabama State was picked third with 32 points, while Mississippi Valley State was fourth (19 points) and Alcorn State (13 points) rounded out the East.
After PVAM, the West is a log jam. Texas Southern, Southern and Grambling all had 28 points, tying for second, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff was predicted fifth in the West with 19 points.
The 2012 volleyball season gets underway Friday, August 24 with seven teams taking the court. The SWAC Volleyball Championship will be held November 17-18 at Jackson State University.