FRISCO, Texas - The Southland Conference announced the release of its volleyball preseason polls and all-conference teams on Wednesday, selecting the Ladyjacks to finish third in polls conducted by the league's coaches and sports information directors. Junior middle blocker MC Bottles was also named to the preseason first team, while senior outside hitter Kelsey Owens was a second team selection.
SFA received to first-place votes in the Sports Information Director's poll, while defending champion Central Arkansas and SLC Tournament champion Texas State received the remainder of the top selections in both polls. The Sugar Bears received six first-place votes in the SID poll, edging the Bobcats for the top spot while the league's coaches tabbed Texas State to take the title. SFA posted its sixth consecutive 20-win season in 2009 and advanced to the finals of the SLC Tournament
It is the second straight year for Bottles to earn a preseason honor, as she was an automatic addition to the first team following her selection to the all-Southland Conference second team in 2009, just one season after she earned first team all-league honors as a true freshman in 2008. The junior from Rowlett, Texas, averaged 2.62 kills per set last season while swinging at a .286 clip and adding 1.00 block per set. She finished the year on a strong note, hitting no less than .270 in any of her last eight matches and earning a selection to the all-tournament team at the SLC Tournament.
The honor is a first for Owens, who enters her senior year as the team's top outside threat after leading the team in 2009 with 2.78 kills per set despite missing 10 matches early in the season with a knee injury. She still responded with career highs in kills, digs and blocks and even delivered a pair of matches with more than 20 kills, the two highest single-match totals by any Ladyjack last season.
The Ladyjacks open up the 2010 season on August 27 at the Baylor Classic against the Bears at the Ferrell Center. Butler and SMU will join the Ladyjacks and Bears at the Classic before SFA returns home to open up Johnson Coliseum on August 31 against ULM.