Women's Volleyball | 8/22/2018 4:09:00 PM |
TSU Lady Tigers Volleyball Preview
2017 Record and Finish: 16-13 (11-7 SWAC); SWAC Volleyball Tournament runner-up
Key Returners: MB Kirby Anderson, OH Alexis Austin, OH/DS Cassidy Jannson, MB Nia Stone, RS/OH Eboni Mitchell
Key Losses: RS Nicole Robinson, DS Erin Adams
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After falling short in its second-straight appearance in the championship match, a loaded Texas Southern team enters 2018 with designs on proving that the third time is the charm.
Head coach Jocelyn Adams is working with a full cupboard of talent this season, highlighted by one of the stronger frontlines in the conference.
Preseason Player of the Year Kirby Anderson is back in the fold to anchor the middle. As the most efficient returning attacker in the league – as evidenced by her 227 kills on an impressive .335 hit percentage – the senior should be in the mix for several postseason accolades. Anderson also flashed as a difference-maker on defense, turning away a league-high 130 attacks in 2017.
Joining her will be Nia Stone, who posted 112 kills and 81 blocks last year. With Nicole Robinson having graduated, Stone will have even more opportunities to pay dividends for the Lady Tigers.
On the wings, Alexis Austin, Cassidy Jannson and Eboni Mitchell return to provide some firepower. Austin, a junior striker, led the team with 282 kills last season. Jannson heads into her senior season as one of the team's top two-way players after a 2017 campaign where she posted 207 putaways and picked up 251 digs. She is also expected to be one of the team's leaders on the court.
Mitchell is in line for increased production after posted 93 kills in 2017.
At setter, Breanna York and Alyssa Chudian will be the names to watch. As perennial All-SWAC performer Asia Howard won't be available due to injury, York and Chudian will be tasked with setting the table for what should be one of the top offensive units in the conference.
On the back end, Valencia Grayson is set to step in as lead libero during her sophomore season. Names like Alexis Praytor and Jordan Brown may also figure in for playing time as well.
Texas Southern has also brought in a variety of newcomers, most of which bring height and depth to key positions. Early results from the new faces may help TSU be an even stronger force in the SWAC this season.
TSU opens the season at Sam Houston State for tournament action, starting against Bethune-Cookman on Aug. 24.
Courtesy: TSU Athletics