The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team is predicted to finish in fourth place in the Lone Star Conference, while Lion junior middle blocker Shelley Chapron was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. The LSC announced its annual preseason poll and superlatives on Wednesday.
The Lions are coming off of a second place finish in the LSC in 2017, going 21-12 overall and 15-5 in the conference. A&M-Commerce qualified for the NCAA Division II Championship for the first time in 29 years and went an undefeated 11-0 at home during the campaign.
Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X) was the LSC Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-LSC, and AVCA honorable mention All-South Central Region as a sophomore in 2017. She led the LSC with 155 total blocks last year, finished second in the league in blocks per set, and was fourth in hitting percentage. She had 16 matches with at least five blocks, including a season-high 11 blocks in a key conference win over Tarleton. She had a double-double with 12 kills and 10 blocks against West Texas A&M.
The Lions are slated to return four starters from the 2017 season in Chapron, Academic All-American and all-region player Jaslyn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge), Mariyah Oliver (Waimea, Hawai’i), and libero Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands – College Park).
Angelo State is predicted to win the league, though West Texas A&M earned the most first place votes. The top four schools are all within a 41-point range. A total of 30 voters between the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and media members cast their ballots for the poll. Other LSC preseason superlative winners were Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Madison Brabham as preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Angelo State’s Meghan Parker as preseason Setter of the Year.
The Lions start the season on Friday, August 24, with matches against Harding and Black Hills State in the first day of the Tarleton Invitational. The Lions will play their second tournament on August 31 and September 1 at the prestigious Colorado Premier Challenge, including a match against Concordia-St. Paul, which has won the last two Division II national championships and nine titles in the last 11 years.
A&M-Commerce will host 11 matches in the Field House, including 10 LSC matches. The home schedule kicks off on Tuesday, September 11, against local rival Texas Woman’s. Season tickets are only $50 and are available at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling (903) 468-8756.
2018 Lone Star Conference Volleyball Preseason Poll
|1||Angelo State (8)||304|
|2||West Texas A&M (10)||282|
|7||Eastern New Mexico||133|
|9||Western New Mexico||98|
|11||UT Permian Basin (1)||55|