JONESBORO, Ark. (8/7/17) – The Arkansas State volleyball team was picked to repeat as champions of the West Division by the Sun Belt Conference coaches, while Carlisa May, Kenzie Fields, and Jessica Uke represented a league-high three selections on the 2017 Preseason All-Conference Team as announced by the SBC Monday morning.
A-State earned 71 points and 11 of 12 first-place votes to be picked atop the West Division, while Texas State followed with 57 points and the other first-place tally. UT Arlington (50 points), Little Rock (34 points), Louisiana (28 points), and ULM (12 points) were picked to finish third through sixth in the division. Coastal Carolina was picked to win the East Division with 72 points and all 12 first-place votes by the league's coaches.
The three selections for the Red Wolves were a league best with division rivals Texas State, UT Arlington, and Louisiana-Lafayette placing two each on the team.
A native of Lee's Summit, Mo., May was selected to her second-straight Preseason All-SBC Team. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year in the league led the Red Wolves and the SBC with 445 kills, good for a 3.90 kills per set average, on a .250 hitting percentage. Additionally, she garnered Honorable Mention AVCA All-Southwest Region honors and was a two-time Offensive Player of the Week last season.
Fields, the 2016 Freshman of the Year and Second-Team All-SBC selection, was chosen to the team on the heels of a redshirt freshman campaign that included the second most kills on the team with 288 (2.67 per set) and a team-high 32 service aces. The Bartlett, Tenn., native also contributed 238 digs and 40 blocks defensively and was second on the team with six double-doubles.
A native of Cedar Hill, Texas, Uke led last season's squad with a .365 hitting percentage, which ranked as second best in the league and fifth best in school history. The middle blocker tallied 148 kills for a 2.06 per set average and registered the second most blocks on the team with 50, including 16 block solos.
Arkansas State opens the 2017 campaign Aug. 25-26 at the Bluegrass Battle in Lexington, Ky. The Red Wolves open with Kentucky at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 before playing Cincinnati in its second match of the day at 5 p.m.
Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@AStateVB) and Instagram (astatevolleyball) along with liking the Arkansas State University Volleyball page on Facebook for the latest news and updates regarding the team.
2017 Sun Belt Preseason Volleyball All-Conference Team
Emma Longley (Appalachian State, So., OH)
** Kenzie Fields (Arkansas State, So., OH)
* Carlisa May (Arkansas State, Jr., OH)
Jessica Uke (Arkansas State, Sr., MB)
* Leah Hardeman (Coastal Carolina, Sr., OH)
Stacey Reilly (Louisiana, Sr., OH)
Jessica Bartczyszyn (Louisiana, Sr., S)
Kacey Leblanc (ULM, Sr., LIB/DS)
** Qiana Cañete (UTA, Sr., OH)
Zhanelle Geathers (UTA, Jr., MB)
** Erin Hoppe (Texas State, Sr., S)
Jaliyah Bolden (Texas State, Sr., MB)
* - denotes 2016 First-Team All-Conference | ** denotes 2016 Second-Team All-Conference
2017 Sun Belt Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Leah Hardeman (Coastal Carolina, Sr., OH)
2017 Sun Belt Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Kacey Leblanc (ULM, Sr., LIB/DS)
2017 Sun Belt Preseason Setter of the Year
Erin Hoppe (Texas State, Sr., S)
2017 Sun Belt Volleyball Preseason Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Coastal Carolina (12) - 72 pts
2. South Alabama - 51 pts
3. Georgia Southern - 43 pts
4. Georgia State - 37 pts
5. Appalachian State - 30 pts
6. Troy - 19 pts
1. Arkansas State (11) - 71 pts
2. Texas State (1) - 57 pts
3. UTA - 50 pts
4. Little Rock - 34 pts
5. Louisiana - 28 pts6. ULM - 12 pts