Friday, August 10, 2012
MACON, Ga. – Three-time defending champion Lipscomb earned the preseason nod to claim its fourth consecutive A-Sun title, while ETSU’s Megan Devine and Kennesaw State’s Camille Pedraza garnered Preseason Player of the Year and Preseason Libero of the Year honors, respectively.
Should the Bison defend their title, it would also be their fifth in six years. Only one other program has won four consecutive titles in A-Sun history, as the University of Central Florida claimed six straight (1992-97).
Devine was a unanimous selection to the 2012 Preseason All-Atlantic Sun team. In 2011, she earned First Team All-Atlantic Sun and Atlantic Sun All-Tournament Team accolades, playing in all 31 matches and setting the ETSU single-season record for kills per set (4.16), which also ranked her second in the A-Sun. In addition, Devine posted the second highest school marks in kills (503) and attack attempts (1,358),while ranking 34th nationally in kills per set and 54th in points per set (4.51). Devine’s point total also placed her second in the A-Sun.
Along with earning Preseason Libero of the Year honors, the Owls’ defensive specialist Pedraza played in all 29 matches and 109 sets for KSU in 2011 and finished ninth in the A-Sun in digs with 3.50 per set. She led the Owls in total digs for the second consecutive season with 381 and 3.50 digs per set. Pedraza also tallied double-digit digs in 19 matches and 20 or more digs in four matches, including a match high of 28.
One of two Eagles earning preseason accolades, FGCU sophomore Jill Hopper returns after claiming Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honors in 2011. She led the Eagles in points (434.0), kills (358) and service aces (46). Hopper recorded seven double-doubles in 2011 and led A-Sun freshmen in kills with 3.07 per set, ninth-best in the A-Sun. She also ranked fourth in service aces (.38) and ninth in points (3.70).
Sophomore Gigi Meyer joined Hopper on the 2011 A-Sun All-Freshman Team, ranking fifth on the team in digs with 187. Meyer also led FGCU and ranked fifth in the A-Sun in total assists 1050). She also recorded seven double-doubles and registered double-digit assists in 27 of 29 matches, including a career-high 61 in A-Sun competition vs. ETSU (Oct. 15).
Kennesaw State junior Sara Metroka set the program’s career-assists record in 2011 and finished second in the A-Sun in assists with 1103, or 10.12 per set. Metroka also got the job done in the classroom in 2011, earning Academic All-Conference honors.
A member of two A-Sun Championship teams (2011, 2010), Lipscomb senior outside hitter Kaycee Green was an All-Atlantic Sun First Team selection last season. Green also finished in the top 10 in the A-Sun in two categories, ranking fourth in the A-Sun in kills per set 3.47 and sixth in points with a 3.71 per set mark.
North Florida senior Paige Pridgeon was an All-Atlantic Sun Second Team selection in 2011, earning postseason recognition for the third consecutive season. She led the Ospreys and ranked fifth in the A-Sun in kills with 3.28 per set. Pridgeon, who became just the ninth player in UNF program history to record1,000 career kills, also ranked 10th in the A-Sun with 3.59 points per set.
Lipscomb's Green was also selected as the A-Sun Fan Preseason Player of the Year in a fan-vote conducted on the conference Facebook page, while the Bison were picked to capture the regular-season crown by fans as well.
The A-Sun regular season volleyball schedule begins Aug. 24, with nine of the 10 teams taking the court in non-conference matches.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.