This will be short, but before I list my thoughts on the first round games for Friday, let me say that I thought the coaches and SID's did a great job this year in making the All-SLC selections. I will blog a bit more about the all-conference teams in a few more days, but my choices and the official choices were very similar. As several folks commented to me after my picks, Chloe Smith was indeed a very defensible choice for Player of the Year.
I was a little surprised that McRoberts won Coach of the Year, but then again, 15-1 in conference is nothing to sneeze at. It's just that people knew that Central Arkansas was going to be good. Go back and look at where the same coaches and SID's that snubbed Groff at UTSA for Coach of the Year picked the 'Runners to finish at the beginning of the year. They far exceeded expectations and I think Groff should have been recognized for that. UTSA finishing 13-3 seemed far more unlikely than UCA finishing 15-1 when we began conference play.
The only other spots that gave me even minor pause were Deardorff (Texas State) and Sauls (UTA). Both of those players seem more like Honorable Mentions (at best) to me than actually first or second team. I also think the fact that Northwestern La. didn't win many games hurt Laranda Spann, who I think was deserving of higher than Honorable Mention. But, those points are minor. My biggest beef - while still seeing the logic of the voters - is not honoring Groff.
Here's how I think Friday will turn out:
UTSA defeats McNeese 3-2
Texas State defeats Lamar 3-0
Central Arkansas defeats Nicholls 3-0
Sam Houston defeats UTA 3-2