Codato, Kirkwood Named Preseason All-GSC

| August 11, 2014

Source: Valdosta State University

VALDOSTA, GA – In a preseason poll conducted by the Gulf South Conference this week, the Valdosta State volleyball team was picked to finish third behind the Shorter Hawks and the 2013 GSC Champion West Florida Argonauts, while Jessica Codato and Jenna Kirkwood were named preseason All-GSC.

Head Coach Mike Swan, the reigning GSC Coach of the Year, led the Blazers to one of their best seasons in over a decade in 2013. A second place finish during the regular season for the Blazers assuredly influenced the votes of other GSC coaches throughout the league in the preseason poll, as Valdosta State received one first place vote, two second place votes, two third place votes, two fourth place votes, and one fifth place vote. The 48 point total placed Valdosta State two points behind the Shorter Hawks, who were projected to conclude the season in second place with four second place votes, three third place votes, and one fifth place vote to reach a 50 point total.

West Florida was the unanimous pick to repeat as the conference leaders with eight first place votes, while Christian Brothers received three second place votes, four fourth place votes, one sixth place vote, and one seventh place vote for a projected fourth place finish behind Valdosta State.

The Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville earned a fifth place projection with 34 points in the poll, while West Georgia fell into the sixth place position with 32 points. North Alabama, West Alabama, and Union rounded out the bottom three with 27, 20, and eight points, respectively.

Valdosta State was well represented in the preseason All-GSC selection process, as the Blazers were one of three teams to land two players on a 2014 Preseason All-GSC Team that featured eight student-athletes.

Kirkwood, one of the league’s top hitters in 2013, earned a spot on the preseason All-GSC squad along with her teammate Codato, who filled the setter role for Valdosta State throughout last year’s campaign. Both players were recognized as All-GSC selections at the conclusion of their junior seasons, and both are expected to play a prominent role in the anticipated success for VSU volleyball during the upcoming season.

“Jessica and Jenna established themselves early on last fall with their tremendous effort and high caliber of play, both of which contributed to our success last season,” said Swan. “Following their All-GSC seasons in 2013, I am not surprised that they were named to the preseason team in 2014. I think it’s only logical that Jessica and Jenna will be considered as two of our team leaders during the upcoming year.”

Codato began her career with a bang last season, as she earned GSC Player of the Week honors during the first week of the season. The award was an indication of what was to come for the Sao Paulo transfer who led the Blazers in assists (920) and service aces (31). Meanwhile, Kirkwood hit the ground running in 2013 as a transfer from Hillsborough community college before concluding the season with a team high 424 kills.

The Blazers begin their quest for a GSC title on Friday, September 5th, when the team kicks off the 2014 season with a two-match home opener that includes a 3:30 p.m. contest against Albany State, followed by a 6:00 p.m. matchup against the Fighting Knights of Lynn.

Source: Valdosta State University

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