Sun Belt Announces volleyball Preseason Awards and Poll

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021

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The Sun Belt Conference announced its 2021 Preseason All-Sun Belt Team, individual awards and Preseason Poll on Tuesday.

Texas State junior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald was dubbed the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while her teammate junior setter Emily DeWalt was named the Preseason Setter of the Year. UTA sophomore libero Alli Wells claimed Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Preseason Libero of the Year honors.

Texas State paced all conference programs with three Preseason All-Sun Belt selections, while Coastal Carolina, UTA and Troy also boasted multiple honorees.

Coastal Carolina was picked to win its third-straight Sun Belt East Division title in the Preseason Coaches Poll, while capturing 11-of-12 first-place votes. Texas State topped the Sun Belt West Division ledger with 11-of-12 first-place nods. The Bobcats are looking for their fifth-straight division crown and fourth-straight Sun Belt Conference tournament title in 2021.

Coastal Carolina was the Sun Belt regular-season champion in 2020, while Texas State claimed its third-straight tournament title in a five-set thriller (20-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 15-6) over the Chanticleers.

2021 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Preseason Awards 
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Janell Fitzgerald, Texas State (Jr., OH – Mansfield, Texas)

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Alli Wells, UTA (So., L – Waxahachie, Texas)

Preseason Setter of the Year
Emily DeWalt, Texas State (Jr., S – Helotes, Texas)

Preseason Libero of the Year
Alli Wells, UTA (So., L – Waxahachie, Texas)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Team
OH – Ani Bozdeva, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr. – Razlog, Bulgaria)
OH – Laura Jansen, Little Rock (Sr. – Doetinchem, Netherlands)
OH – Brooke Townsend, UTA (Jr. – Bastrop, Texas)
OH – Janell Fitzgerald, Texas State (Jr. – Mansfield, Texas)
OH – Cheyenne Hayes, Troy (Sr. – Newnan, Ga.)
MB – Tyeranee Scott, Texas State (Sr. – Houston, Texas)
RS/MB – Kendahl Davenport, Arkansas State (RS So. – Conway, Ark.)
RS/MB – Mya Wilson, Georgia Southern (Jr. – Orlando, Fla.)
S – Brigitta Petrenko, Coastal Carolina (Jr. – Eger, Hungary)
S – Emily DeWalt, Texas State (Jr. – Helotes, Texas)
S – Amara Anderson, Troy (Jr. – Alpharetta, Ga.)
L – Alli Wells, UTA (So. – Waxahachie, Texas)

2021 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll
East Division
1. Coastal Carolina (11) – 71
2. Troy (1) – 59
3. Georgia Southern – 36
4. App State – 32
5. South Alabama – 28
6. Georgia State – 26

West Division
1. Texas State (11) – 69
2. UTA – 55
3. Arkansas State (1) – 48
4. Louisiana – 35
5. Little Rock – 27
6. ULM – 18

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