UAPB Volleyball Nabbed Three On SWAC Preseason All-Conference

Volleyball Preseason

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff volleyball program continues to dominate the major individual awards, claiming two out the three spots for the Southwestern Athletic Conference 2021 Preseason All-Conference Selections announced Wednesday morning.

The All-Conference teams were voted upon by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

Sophomore Zyonn Smith was named Preseason Player of the Year, while fellow teammate Haley Gomez claimed Preseason Blocker of the Year recognition. Junior Nikole Akamine was named setter First-Team All-Conference.

Smith helped raised the bar after being named AVCA Southwest All-Region Team,  Player of the Year, and First-Team All-Conference in the spring of 2020-21 played a significant part in turning UAPB’s Volleyball program around. Smith leads the conference in four categories. She ranks first in the conference in total kills with 167 kills per set, averaging 3.7, ranks first in total points with 180, and second in points per set, averaging 4.0.

Smith had a career-high 20 kills against Jackson State this season.

Gomez continues to make her presence felt over the middle after being named Blocker of the Year and first-team all-conference for two consecutive seasons. Gomez was named SWAC Player of the Week twice last season for her leadership and protection around the net. She was a key contributor in helping the Lady Lions hold the top spot in blocks per set as a team, averaging 2.2. Individually Gomez ranks first in the conference with 61 blocks and leads the conference in blocks per set, averaging 1.4 per set, and ranks fourth in the conference in points per set, averaging 3.8.

She had a career-high eight blocks this season against Texas Southern.

Sophomore Nikole Akamine was named All-Conference team for the second consecutive year after being named to the second team last season. Akamine helped the Lady Lions sit amongst the top in the conference in assist per set, averaging 11.52. Akamine has a total of 170 assists and ranks second in the conference in assists per set, averaging 5.48 per set and second in the conference in aces per set, averaging 0.57 per set.

Akamine had a career-high 33 assists against Southern U.