Friday, September 23, 2011
MALINE VAITAI NAMED MEAC PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR; UMES CHOSEN TO WIN NORTHERN DIVISION
2011 MEAC Volleyball Preseason Team Release
NORFOLK, Va. -- Maline Vaitai has been selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, announced by the league on Monday. In addition, the Hawks were picked to finish first in the MEAC Northern Division.
Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) earned MEAC Rookie of the Year last season after being first in the conference in kills (3.45) and points (4.04) per set plus was third in the league and 51st in Division I in aces (0.37) per game. Overall the 2010 First Team All-MEAC outside hitter notched 407 kills, 44 aces and 42 total blocks.
Along with Vaitai, senior outside hitter Zoe Bowens (Long Beach, Calif.) was named to the 2011 MEAC Volleyball Preseason Team. Last year, Bowens led all of Division I in aces (0.67) per set, finishing with 79 on the season. She added 350 kills, 184 digs and 24 total blocks.
Rounding out the rest of the preseason team is libero Sonja Banicevic of Delaware State and middle hitter Desire Waller, middle blocker Shabree Roberson and setter Bria Brimmer of South Carolina State.
The four-time MEAC Northern Division champion Hawks were picked to win the regular season title with 21 out of 26 first-place votes and 309 total points. This is the second straight year UMES was chosen to win the Northern Division. Delaware State was picked to finish second while Howard was predicted to take third. In the MEAC Southern Division, Florida A&M was chosen to take first with 17 first-place votes, with reigning conference champion South Carolina State getting second.
The preseason honors were voted on by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors.
UMES will begin their season on August 26th with the Tiny Laster Invitational in Hampton, Virginia.