From Stephen F. Austin State University
FRISCO, TX (News Release) - On Monday afternoon, the Stephen F. Austin volleyball team learned it was picked to finish second in the 13-team Southland Conference when the league revealed its 2017 preseason poll.
The only team predicted to finish higher than SFA was Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - the two-time defending Southland Conference champions. Out of the 26 possible first-place votes, the Islanders received 23 of them and racked up 286 points - 40 more than the 246 SFA finished with.
Projected to finish in third place was Sam Houston State who secured the three remaining first-place votes and gathered up 230 points. Houston Baptist (fourth, 219 points) and Central Arkansas (fifth, 206 points) rounded out the top five places in the preseason poll.
One season ago, the Ladyjacks posted a 12-4 mark in Southland Conference play which was good for a second-place finish in the 13-team league. Under the direction of head coach Debbie Humphreys, who begins her 30th season in change of the Ladyjacks in 2017, SFA returns 13 players from its 2016 squad including the likes of reigning Southland Conference Freshman of the Year Ann Hollas and 2017 Preseason All-Southland Conference First Team pick Lexus Cain.
Along with the 13 returners, seven true freshmen bring the total number of players on the Ladyjacks' 2017 roster to 20.
Monday also represented the Ladyjacks' return to campus to prepare for the 2017 campaign. Only 19 days separate the team from the beginning of the 2017 season and the Ladyjacks will hold their first official practice Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their season opener on Friday, August 25, where they will take on Florida Atlantic at the Stetson Invitational in DeLand, Fla.
The Ladyjacks begin Southland Conference play on Thursday, Sept. 21, when they welcome Central Arkansas to Shelton Gym. That showdown with the Sugar Bears starts SFA's 16-match league schedule which culminates with a home meeting with Lamar on Saturday, Nov. 11.