Commerce – The Lone Star Conference held its annual media day Thursday in Richardson, where league officials unveiled preseason polls and issued preseason awards.
Two student-athletes from Texas A&M University-Commerce received special recognition.
For Lion Football, Senior Defensive Lineman William Green was named the LSC North's Preseason Player of the Year. Green had 27 tackles, 12 solo, plus 3.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 2008.
Green says it'll take a team effort to fulfill the expectations the award brings.
"It starts out with it, you have to finish up with it," says Green. "I feel my team will make me better. If my team works with me, then we as a team will have this award at the end of the year, not just me."
As a team, A&M-Commerce was picked to finish tied for second along with Southeastern Oklahoma in the LSC North. They received 3 first place votes. Central Oklahoma was picked first in the LSC North.
Serving in his first year as head coach, Guy Morriss says it's tough to determine his expectations for this team, but says the goal should always be to win the conference and win a national title.
"I think we'll be a fast-paced, aggressive style team," says Morriss. "Hopefully we can surround Willie [Green] with enough players that we can go out and win seven or eight games. That'd be nice if we could do that."
Also receiving top honors was Meagan Lasley, named Pre-season LSC Offensive Player of the Year for women's soccer. The senior forward from Mesquite led A&M-Commerce to the third round of the NCAA Championship last season. She set the single-season school record for points with 52.
Expectations are high for women's soccer, being one of the final sixteen teams left at the end of last year, plus returning 17 of 20 starters this season.
Head Coach Neil Piper feels his team has the experience to repeat and even exceed last year's performance.
"They've beaten two national championship teams in their freshmen and sophomore years; last year they made a good run in the NCAA tournament," says Piper. "So there's really nothing they haven't seen or haven't done and so I don't think we're going to be afraid or intimidated by anybody."
The A&M-Commerce women's soccer team was picked to finish second in the conference today. They had 11 first place votes. They were barely beat out by West Texas A&M.
For volleyball, A&M-Commerce was picked to finish eight in the conference. The Lions closed the 2008 season with a 15-12 overall record, the best since 2002.
For Lion Cross Country, the women were picked to finish ninth, while the men were picked to finish third. Last season, Tyler Tyndell finished 57th overall and eighth among individuals at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.
Preseason polls are voted on by LSC coaches, plus media and sports information directors throughout conference.