Jonesboro (ASU) — The Arkansas State volleyball team was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference West Division preseason poll, the league announced Thursday morning, and ASU's Cayla Fielder was named to the preseason All-SBC team, as voted on by the league's 12 head coaches.
The Red Wolves received 57 points in the poll with four first place votes, while Denver topped the West Division with 68 points. Middle Tennessee totaled 66 points to land as the favorite in the East Division just three points ahead of Florida International.
Fielder's selection to the preseason All-SBC team marks the second of her career. She was named to the All-SBC First Team following the 2009 season, after leading the Red Wolves in kills (373), hitting percentage (.341) and total blocks (128), including a team-high 33 unassisted. Fielder was named the 2008 Freshman of the Year and earned Second Team All-SBC honors that same season.
"We feel honored to have received some first place votes and to have a player recognized on the preseason All-Sun Belt team," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "A lot of that recognition has to do with what we did last season, and we'll have to work extremely hard to repeat as Division Champions. Great things are happening at practice, and we are anxious to get started."
A-State opens the 2010 season Friday, Aug. 27 when they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff at noon and Northwestern State at 7:00 p.m. in the ASU Invitational at the HPESS facility on the ASU campus. Louisiana Tech will face Northwestern State in the opening match of the tournament at 10:00 a.m., while UAPB and Louisiana Tech will meet on the hardwood at 5:00 p.m.
PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL POLL
1. Middle Tennessee - 66 points (6 first place votes)
2. FIU - 63 points (5 first place votes)
3. WKU - 51 points (1 first place vote)
4. Troy - 28 points
5. Florida Atlantic, South Alabama - 22 points
1. Denver - 68 points (8 first place votes)
2. Arkansas State - 57 points (4 first place votes)
3. UALR - 47 points
4. North Texas - 43 points
5. Louisiana-Lafayette - 24 points
6. Louisiana-Monroe - 13 points
PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Natalia Valentin, FIU
Izabela Kozon, Middle Tennessee
Cayla Fielder, Arkansas State
Jovana Bjelica, FIU
Stacy Oladinni, Middle Tennessee
Maria Szivos, Middle Tennessee
Tiffany Elmore, WKU
Kacie Wikierak, Denver
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year > Kacie Wikierak, Denver
Preseason Player of the Year > Natalia Valentin, FIU