SWAC announces Spring 2021 preseason volleyball team

SWAC Communications
Andrew Roberts

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced its Spring 2021 Preseason All-SWAC Volleyball team highlighted by Preseason Player of the Year Jylen Whitten (JSU), Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Alana Washington (JSU) and Preseason Blocker of the Year Haley Gomez (UAPB). The preseason team and individual awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

At the conclusion of last season Jackson State’s Jylen Whitten was named SWAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after establishing herself as one of the league’s premier volleyball student-athletes. During regular season play the 5’9 freshman outside hitter from Redondo Beach, Calif. led the conference in kills per set with a 3.25 average, while adding 344 kills on the season. Additionally, Whitten led the SWAC in points, averaging 3.66 per set and 388 total. She also finished eighth in the conference in service aces with a 0.27 average per set (30 service aces), while tallying 253 digs during the season.

Jackson State’s Alana Washington was named SWAC Libero of the Year following a breakout 2019 campaign where she recorded a league-leading 500 digs. The 5’5 freshman from Chino, Calif. averaged the most digs per set (4.31) and posted 29 matches with 10 or more digs. Washington was ranked second on her team in service aces with 26, while finishing fourth on the team in assists with 132.

2019 was a stellar year for Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Haley Gomez as she led her team in total blocks (90), while also contributing 45 digs to go along with 229 kills. The Eastvale, Calif. native was a key contributor for a Lady Lions team that concluded the season with an impressive 5-2 record at home.

Jackson State (4) and Prairie View A&M (4) led all member institutions with four total preseason selections followed by Alcorn State (2), Grambling State (2), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2), Southern (2), Texas Southern (1) and Mississippi Valley State (1).

A complete listing of the Spring 2021 Preseason All-SWAC Team and individual award winners can be found below.

Preseason Player of the Year- Jylen Whitten, Jackson State

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year- Alana Washington, Jackson State

Preseason Blocker of the Year- Haley Gomez, UAPB

Preseason All-SWAC Volleyball First Team

 Position Name Classification School Hometown
OH/RS Jylen Whitten Sophomore Jackson State Redondo Beach, Calif.
OH/RS Gillian Jones Sophomore Grambling State Houston, Texas
OH/RS Tamaira Armstrong Senior Prairie View A&M Bryan, Texas
OH/RS Kaila Robinson Redshirt Junior Arkansas-Pine Bluff Ridgefield, Wash.
MH/Blocker Victoria Pearson Senior Prairie View A&M El Paso, Texas
MH/Blocker Haley Gomez Sophomore Arkansas-Pine Bluff Eastvale, Calif.
Setter Princess Starks Senior Southern Cordova, Tenn.
Setter Jakarta Hope Sophomore Prairie View A&M Killeen, Texas
Libero/DS Alana Washington Sophomore Jackson State Chino, Calif.

Preseason All-SWAC Volleyball Second Team

Position Name Classification School Hometown
OH/RS Camry Dabney Senior Jackson State Cypress, Texas
OH/RS Danielle Lilley Sophomore Texas Southern San Bernardino, Calif.
OH/RS Jada Carter Junior Southern Sachse, Texas
OH/RS Jeda Curry Sophomore Alcorn State Hampton, Ga.
MH/Blocker Taila Gaines Sophomore Jackson State New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
MH/Blocker Tamaira Johnson Junior Grambling State Mesquite, Texas
Setter Jasmine Chambers Senior Alcorn State Fort Worth, Texas
Setter Ariana Austin Sophomore Mississippi Valley State Crowley, Texas
Libero/DS Skyla Childs Sophomore Prairie View A&M Cypress, Texas

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