Aug. 15, 2012
FRISCO, Texas - The Lamar volleyball team is looking to have a strong 2012 campaign thanks in large part to the expected contributions of Sierra Whittaker, Alex Morford and Wendy Krell as each were named to the All-Southland Preseason First Team as announced by the conference office on Wednesday. As a team, the Lady Cardinals were tabbed third in the yearly coaches poll, earning one first place vote.
Whittaker, an All-SLC Second Team selection a year ago, earned her spot on the team automatically after averaging 3.11 kills per set. Morford, who took home Honorable Mention accolades last season, will be looking to better her averages of 0.48 service aces and 10.21 assists per set, which ranked second and fourth in the league, respectively. Wendy Krell led LU last season in attack percentage at .271 while averaging 2.09 kills per set.
"I think Sierra is one of the best outside hitters in the league," head coach Justin Gibert said. "She put up big numbers last year, and she's only gotten better. Alex is a huge part of what we do. She runs a pretty good offense and I'd rank her as one of the top setters in our conference. Wendy's had some big games over the years, and she connects really well with Alex, so I expect another strong season out of her."
Lamar was the only team to place three players onto the preseason first team. Central Arkansas, Oral Roberts, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin each had two players named to the team.
After chalking up a 9-7 conference record to finish second in the East Division last season, the Lady Cards were picked third in the coaches poll and fourth in the sports information directors poll, earning a first place vote in each. Central Arkansas topped both, barely edging out Oral Roberts, who will be playing their first season in the Southland this season.
"I've been saying that we're one of the top three teams in the league, so it's nice to see that the other coaches agree with that," Gibert said. "Central has been strong, and even though Oral Roberts is new to a lot of the coaches in the conference, they were pretty good in the Summit League last year. I think that we have the talent and the maturity to win this year, but we have to show it now. There's a lot of work to do."
Lamar will begin the 2012 season at the North Texas Invitational in Denton on August 24. For more on LU Volleyball, follow the Lady Cards on Twitter at www.twitter.com/luvolleyball.
2012 Southland Preseason Polls
- Central Arkansas (4) - 75 points
- Oral Roberts (5) - 73 points
- Lamar (1) - 64 points
- Sam Houston State - 53 points
- Stephen F. Austin - 50 points
- Northwestern State - 42 points
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - 35 points
- McNeese State - 28 points
- Nicholls State - 17 points
- Southeastern Louisiana - 13 points
Sports Information Directors Poll
- Central Arkansas (4) - 74 points
- Oral Roberts (4) - 73 points
- Sam Houston State (1) - 63 points
- Lamar (1) - 58 points
- Stephen F. Austin - 48 points
- Northwestern State - 45 points
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - 31 points
- McNeese State - 24 points
- Nicholls State - 21 points
- Southeastern Louisiana - 13 points
2012 All-Southland Volleyball Teams
Kim Black, Sam Houston State
Marissa Collins, Central Arkansas
Stacey DiFrancesco, Northwestern State
Madison Hanlan, Stephen F. Austin
Sierra Whittaker, Lamar
Bruna Silva, Oral Roberts
Alex Morford, Lamar
Jill Ivy, Stephen F. Austin
Jessica Nagy, Central Arkansas
Kaylee Hawkins, Sam Houston State
Wendy Krell, Lamar
Olivia Ophus, Oral Roberts
Brooke Alverson, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Kendall Cleveland, Sam Houston State
Taylor Hammonds, Central Arkansas
Emily Sweet, Northwestern State
Jennifer Brandt, Nicholls State
Jessica Hays, Central Arkansas