HBCU Women’s Sports Notebook

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: August 16, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Florida A&M’s Jovana Blazeski was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year the conference has announced. Preseason honors were voted on by the league’s head volleyball coaches and sports information directors.

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers and Maryland Eastern Shore Lady Hawks were picked as the preseason favorites in the northern and southern divisions. Out of 22 first-place votes in their respective divisions, Florida A&M received 19 while Maryland Eastern Shore tallied 20.

Florida A&M posted a 7-1 conference mark and a 14-13 overall record in 2008 en route to their eighth consecutive MEAC title. Blazeski, a 2008 second team All-Conference performer, is one of four Lady Rattlers’ returning from last year’s championship team. She led the MEAC with 352 kills and 4.21 points per set and finished with 273 digs. She was also selected to the All-Tournament team.

The Lady Hawks recorded an unblemished 10-0 conference mark for the second straight year and a 25-9 overall record in 2008. They bring back a wealth of talent including 2008 MEAC Rookie of the Year Christine Edwards and 2007 MEAC Player of the Year Whitney Johnson.

Joining Blazeski on the preseason team is teammate Susan Egoavil. South Carolina State’s Bria Brimmer, Bethune-Cookman’s Chelle Ticeson, Whitney Johnson of Maryland Eastern Shore and Delaware State’s Cassandra Joyner round out the list of preseason honorees.

Howard University, who tallied a 7-3 mark in conference play a year ago, was picked to finish second in the northern division with one first-place vote and 187 total points. Delaware State (184) was tabbed to finish third followed by Morgan State (149), Hampton (145) and Coppin State (112).

Bethune-Cookman was predicted to finish second in the southern division with 187 points, followed by South Carolina State (183), Norfolk State (169), and North Carolina A&T (144).

Conference play begins on October 5 with the defending MEAC champion Florida A&M Lady Rattlers heading to Orangeburg, S.C. to take on the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs. The 2009 MEAC Volleyball Championship will be held November 20-22 in Baltimore, Md.

MVSU, GSU TABBED AS FAVORITES IN SWAC VOLLEYBALL

The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced its 2009 preseason soccer honors with Univ. of Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Jade West and Texas Southern’s Saycha Mitchell garnering top honors. The preseason teams were voted on by the schools’ coaches and sports information departments.

West – a 5-foot-5 sophomore forward – was named the SWAC’s 2009 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Last season, West played in 16 games while scoring 17 goals and 13 assists (47 points). She scored four game-winning goals in 2008 and had a 71 percent shot-on-goal percentage.

The Ajax, Ontario Canada native led the SWAC last year in numerous statistical categories including: shots (62), points, goals, and assists.

West was also the NCAA Division I Statistical Champion in points per game (2.94), goals per game (1.06), and Co-Champion in the single game points (10) category.

She was named conference offensive player of the week twice and was the 2008 SWAC Offensive and Freshman Player of the Year.

Mitchell — a 5-foot-7 junior midfielder — was voted as the SWAC’s 2009 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. In 2008, Mitchell played in 12 games while averaging a team best 2.08 shots per game average (10th in the SWAC).

The Sacramento, California native tallied 25 shots last season and helped the Lady Tigers pitch two shutouts. Mitchell finished the 2008 season as a member of the all-conference second team.

In the predicted order of finish, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State were selected to win the Eastern and Western division, respectively.

In the Eastern division, Mississippi Valley State – the defending 2008 SWAC Soccer Champions – garnered eight first place votes while registering 73 voting points. Alabama A&M (seven first-place votes) was second with 70 points while Jackson State (two first-place votes) was third with 68 points. Rounding out the Eastern division was Alabama State (33 points) and Alcorn State (26).

In the Western division, Grambling State was chosen first with 10 first-place votes while tallying 79 voting points. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (six first-place votes) was picked second with 68 points and Texas Southern was selected third with 45 points. Prairie View A&M (42 points) and Southern (36 points) close out the Western division.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff had five players chosen for preseason honors – two on the first team. Grambling State had four selections; Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State each had three players placed on the preseason list while Alabama A&M, Southern, and Texas Southern all had two.

Prairie View A&M had one representative on the preseason squad.