Sun Belt volleyball championship returns to Foley Event Center

Catch up on the biggest storylines around the conference entering postseason tournament play

Staff Report
Posted 11/16/22

FOLEY – The 2022 Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament is set to take place Wednesday through Sunday at the Foley Event Center. All 14 Sun Belt Conference volleyball programs are participating in the …

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Sun Belt volleyball championship returns to Foley Event Center

Catch up on the biggest storylines around the conference entering postseason tournament play

Posted

FOLEY – The 2022 Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament is set to take place Wednesday through Sunday at the Foley Event Center. All 14 Sun Belt Conference volleyball programs are participating in the event, which takes place in the city for the third consecutive year.

It also marks the third conference title to be awarded in the city this fall after cross country and women's soccer crowned champions at the Foley Sports Tourism Complex.

Tickets may be purchased in advance online through the Foley Sports Tourism Box Office. Tickets are sold on a daily basis and are $10 per day for adults and $5 per day for children ages 12 and under. Students of Sun Belt Conference institutions are admitted free with a valid student ID.

All 13 matches of the 2022 Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Crown The Dukes

James Madison, in its first year competing in the Sun Belt, captured the 2022 Sun Belt regular-season championship.

The Dukes went 15-1 in conference play, including a perfect 12-0 mark against East Division foes. James Madison head coach Lauren Steinbrecher was named the 2022 Sun Belt Coach of the Year and middle blocker Sophie Davis is the 2022 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

Planting A Seed

Seeding for the 2022 Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament was determined by winning percentage against divisional foes only. The top-two seeds on both the East and West sides earned automatic byes to the quarterfinal round. James Madison claimed the top spot in the East Division, while Texas State earned the top seed in the West Division.

RPI Report

Three Sun Belt volleyball programs rank in the top 100 of the latest NCAA RPI, led by James Madison’s No. 29 RPI. The Dukes, who are 21-4, have recorded four wins against RPI top-100 opponents this season and are a perfect 17-0 against RPI 100+ foes this year.

Texas State is No. 59 in the RPI with a 22-6 overall record, four wins against RPI top-100 opponents, three victories against Autonomy 5 foes and an 18-2 mark against RPI 100+ opponents. South Alabama is No. 82 in the latest RPI at 16-12 overall. The Sun Belt has placed as many as five teams in the top 100 of the RPI throughout this season.

Built By DeWalt

Texas State’s Emily DeWalt is the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She’s also the Sun Belt Setter of the Year for the fifth time in her career.

She finished the regular season ranked seventh nationally in total assists (1,163) and 17th in assists per set (10.97). She guided a Texas State offense that ranked ninth in the nation in hitting percentage (.289), 13th in assists per set (13.22) and 17th in kills per set (14.08). DeWalt has earned the Sun Belt Volleyball Setter of the Week honor seven times in 12 weeks this season and 25 times for her career.

Can I Assist You?

Two of the top-three career assist leaders in Sun Belt history will be playing in this edition of the tournament.

Texas State fifth-year senior Emily DeWalt is the Sun Belt’s all-time career assists leader with 5,973 and looks to become the first player in league history to chart 6,000 career assists. Troy’s Amara Anderson ranks third in Sun Belt history with 5,650 assists and needs just 43 more assists to overtake Middle Tennessee’s Leslie Clark (2006-09) for second place on the Sun Belt’s all-time career list.

Among NCAA Division I active career leaders for assists, DeWalt currently ranks second with Anderson third. DeWalt, Anderson and Old Dominion’s Teresa Atilano are the three active Sun Belt players who hold their respective school’s career assists record.

Iron Women

The Sun Belt boasts the NCAA’s top-two active leaders in career matches played. Texas State’s Janell Fitzgerald has played in 160 career matches, while her teammate Emily DeWalt has played in 159 career matches. In addition, Troy’s Amara Anderson ranks 13th among DI active leaders in matches played with 142.

Big Wins

Sun Belt volleyball teams have earned six wins against Autonomy 5 opponents so far this season, including a conference-best three by Texas State.

Impressively, in the final week before conference play, Sun Belt teams earned four wins against A5 opponents in a six-day period: August 27 – Coastal Carolina def. Virginia Tech, 3-0; September 4 – Texas State def. West Virginia, 3-1; September 11 – Texas State def. Wake Forest, 3-0; September 15 – South Alabama def. Ole Miss, 3-0; September 16 – Louisiana def. Alabama, 3-0; September 17 – Texas State def. TCU, 3-1.

All-Time Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament Champions, by decade

1983 – Jacksonville; 1984 – VCU; 1985 – VCU; 1986 – South Florida; 1987 – South Florida; 1988 – South Florida; 1989 – South Florida

1990 – UAB; 1991 – Arkansas State; 1992 – Arkansas State; 1993 – Lamar; 1994 – Arkansas State; 1995 – Arkansas State; 1996 – Little Rock; 1997 – Little Rock; 1998 – Little Rock; 1999 – Arkansas State

2000 – Little Rock; 2001 – FIU; 2002 – Western Kentucky; 2003 – New Mexico State; 2004 – New Mexico State; 2005 – Western Kentucky; 2006 – Middle Tennessee; 2007 – Middle Tennessee; 2008 – Western Kentucky; 2009 – Middle Tennessee

2010 – Middle Tennessee; 2011 – Western Kentucky; 2012 – Western Kentucky; 2013 – Texas State; 2014 – Little Rock; 2015 – Arkansas State; 2016 – Coastal Carolina; 2017 – Coastal Carolina; 2018 – Texas State; 2019 – Texas State

2020 – Texas State; 2021 – South Alabama

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