The two teams who played for the 2006 SWAC Volleyball Championship were chosen as the conference favorites for the 2007 SWAC Volleyball season. Defending champion Prairie View A&M along with Mississippi Valley State were the two teams picked as division winners in a poll of the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.

Prairie View A&M (23-11, 6-2 SWAC) capped off their championship run winning seven out of their last nine regular season games and a 4-0 run in the conference tournament. The Lady Panthers will be led by SWAC tournament MVP and 2006 SWAC Newcomer of the Year Tacho Richard. Richard a 5-foot-9 senior from La Porte, Texas, has emerged as one of the conferences premier players in just her second year of SWAC play. Helping anchor the Lady Panther attack will be Shannon Harrison, (5-9, Sr., Libero, San Antonio, Texas) and Ashely Campbell (5-10, Jr., Blocker, Tyler, Texas).


Mississippi Valley State (22-13, 6-2 SWAC) has slowly become one of the conference’s more potent programs over the last four seasons. The Devilettes put together a number of winning streaks last season and will be a major contender for this season’s conference title. Leading the charge will be seniors Christen Jones and Shatara Baydak. Jones (6-3, Sr., Blocker, North Little Rock, Ark.) was one of the top middle players in the conference last season – finishing with 143 kills, 124 blocks and 12 digs. Baydak (5-8, Sr., Hitter, Shoal Lake, Manitoba, Canada) has shown her versatility over the last two seasons. She finished 2006 with 327 kills, 54 aces, 311 digs and 49 total blocks.

In the Western Division, the Lady Panthers received 17 of 19 first-place votes en route to 93 voting points. Grambling State received two first-place votes as they garnered 74 points. Texas Southern (53 points), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (34 points), and Southern (31 points) rounded out the division poll.

Mississippi Valley State garnered nine first place votes and 82 voting points as they were tabbed to win the Eastern Division. While both Jackson State and Alabama A&M each garnered five first-place picks, the Lady Tigers earned 70 voting points to finish second while the Bulldogs earned 69 for a third-place finish. Alcorn State (33 points) and Alabama State (31 points) rounded out the division.

In the preseason all-conference voting, Jackson State’s Nicole Walker and MVSU’s Jones claimed the top preseason honors. Tabbed as the preseason player of the year, Walker (5-9, Sr., Hitter, Dallas, Texas) finished the 2006 season with 382 kills (2.92 k/g – 6th in SWAC), 90 assists, 59 service aces, 409 digs (3.12 d/g – 6th in digs) and 40 total blocks. Named the preseason defensive player of the year, Jones finished second in blocks averaging 1.04 blocks per game. Her 39 solo blocks ranked her second in SWAC standings.

2007 SWAC Preseason All-Conference Selections

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

OH

Nicole Walker

Jackson State

5-9

Sr.

Dallas, Texas

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

MB

Christen Jones

Mississippi Valley State

6-3

Sr.

North Little Rock, Ark.

Preseason All-Conference Honors (in alphabetical order)

OH

Shatara Baydak

Mississippi Valley State

5-8

Jr.

Shoal Lake, Manitoba

S

Corrina Cox

Jackson State

5-8

Sr.

Omaha, Neb.

OH

Nicole Crane

Texas Southern

5-8

Sr.

Killeen, Texas

OH

Amanda Daniels

Jackson State

5-10

Sr.

Jackson, Miss.

DS

Charne Gabriel

Jackson State

5-8

So.

Dallas, Texas

MB

Erica Greer

Jackson State

6-1

So.

Dallas, Texas

MB

Christen Jones

Mississippi Valley State

6-3

Sr.

North Little Rock, Ark.

DS

Alyssa Knaus

Mississippi Valley State

5-8

Jr.

Lanigan, Saskatchewan

MH/MB

Brittani Lewis

Alabama A&M

6-0

Jr.

Cedar Hill, Texas

S

Talon Morgan

Grambling State

5-8

Jr.

Kountze, Texas

MB

Emma Obi

Texas Southern

5-10

Sr.

El Paso, TX

OH

Tacho Richard

Prairie View A&M

5-9

Sr.

La Porte, Texas

OH

Nicole Walker

Jackson State

5-9

Sr.

Dallas, Texas

MB

Markesha Warner

Grambling State

6-2

So.

Fort Worth, Texas


2007 SWAC Preseason All-Conference Selections

(first-place votes in parentheses)

Western Division

Eastern Division

Prairie View A&M (17)

93 pts

Mississippi Valley State (9)

82

Grambling State (2)

74

Jackson State (5)

70

Texas Southern

53

Alabama A&M (5)

69

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

34

Alcorn State

33

Southern

31

Alabama State

31

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