MEAC Announces 2011 Volleyball Preseason Honors

Courtesy: MEAC Media Relations
          Release: 08/01/2011
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Maryland Eastern Shore outside hitter Maline Vaitai was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year the conference announced today. Preseason honors were voted on by the conference's head volleyball coaches and sports information directors.

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers and Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Lady Hawks were picked as the preseason favorites in the northern and southern divisions for the second consecutive year.

Vaitai averaged 3.54 kills per set and totaled 42 blocks last season. The 2010 MEAC Rookie of the Year led the Lady Hawks in points per set with 4.04. She earned MEAC Rookie of the Week accolades four times and was named to several All-Tournament teams during non-conference play last season.

Florida A&M posted a 7-1 conference mark and 12-15 overall record in 2010. The Lady Rattlers welcome back two key returnees in junior outside hitter Pamela Barrera and sophomore outside hitter Katherine Huanec. Barrera led her team with a .253 hitting percentage while averaging 2.20 kills per set. Huanec, a member of the 2010 MEAC All-Tournament team, ranked third in the MEAC in points per game (3.22) and averaged 3.07 kills per set.

The Lady Hawks finished with an 8-2 MEAC mark and 20-12 overall record a year ago.  Along with Vaitai, UMES returns senior outside hitter and member of the 2011 MEAC preseason team Zoe Bowens. Bowens led the nation last year with .67 aces per set (79 total). Named MEAC Player of the Week twice last season, Bowens averaged 2.97 kills per set.

The defending MEAC champion South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs placed three on the 2011 preseason team with Bria Brimmer, Desire Waller and Shabree Roberson earning honors. Sonja Banicevic of Delaware State rounds out the list of preseason honorees.

Delaware State received a total of 236 points and four first-place points for a second place predicted finish in the northern division followed by Howard (178), Norfolk State (168), Morgan State (164), Hampton (140) and Coppin State (109).

The Lady Bulldogs were predicted to finish second in the southern division with 242 points, followed by North Carolina Central (202), Bethune-Cookman (185), North Carolina A&T (153) and Savannah State (137).

Conference play begins on October 2 in Savannah, Georgia as the Lady Tigers of Savannah State take on the Lady Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman.

The 2011 MEAC Volleyball Championship will be held November 18-20 in Baltimore, Md.

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