HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State middle hitter Syretha Pride made school history Monday, becoming the first volleyball player to earn recognition as a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I first-team All-American.
The Lions, who have won six consecutive conference titles, have enjoyed a string of producing a NJCAA All-American each year since 2009. All were honorable mention selections, however, until Pride's inclusion to the first team.
Pride, a Madison County High graduate, led the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) this season with 524 kills, 189 blocks and a .556 hitting percentage. The 5-foot-9 sophomore also added 78 digs.
"Syretha Pride is well deserving of a first-team nod. She consistently put up great numbers all season against really good teams, and I think she sealed the deal with two strong performances at the national tournament," said Wallace State volleyball coach Randy Daniel. "I've had people tell me the last two years how amazed they are that Syretha can put up such big numbers against so many good teams, considering how she is undersized to play middle. Syretha makes up for that because she is so athletic, can jump and plays hard. She's one of the best players we've had in this program and the talent around her this year helped her put up those big numbers."
Pride wasn't the only Wallace State player to receive NJCAA All-American recognition.
Sophomore outside hitter BreAnna Thompson earned an honorable mention selection after finishing second in the conference with 423 kills and a .422 hitting percentage. Thompson, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Piedmont, also collected 67 blocks.
Pride and Thompson were forces all season for the Lions, guiding Wallace State to a 35-10 record and its sixth consecutive NJCAA national tournament appearance. They also helped the Lions win the ACCC regular season title for the seventh straight season, not losing a single set to a conference foe.
"BreAnna (Thompson) improved as much as anyone on the court over her two years here. She had a good freshman season and continued to get better and better for us as a sophomore. She's always had a great work ethic and character," Daniel said. "It is going to be hard to replace those two (Pride and Thompson). You don't realize how good you have it or what you have until you suddenly realize you don't have it anymore. I'm proud for both of them."
Pride completed her Wallace State career with 843 kills and 263 blocks. Pride was a second-team ACCC/All-Region 22 selection as a freshman before being named the 2014 ACCC Player of the Year this season for her regular season work.
Pride was also a two-time ACCC all-tournament selection, compiling 38 kills, 11 blocks and eight digs during the tournament this season. At nationals, Pride had 12 kills in a loss to Iowa Western and 17 kills in a five-set defeat to the State College of Florida.
Thompson was a first-team All-ACCC/Region 22 selection both seasons with Wallace State and was the 2014 ACCC Tournament MVP. Thompson, also a member of Wallace State's women's basketball team, compiled 844 kills over her two-year career.
Along with Thompson, Wallace State volleyball players to earn a NJCAA honorable mention selection over the last six seasons include Kianna Delaney in 2013, Erica Baker in 2012 and 2011, Lesley Bemis in 2011, Taulise Dunklin in 2010 and Cassie Daniels in 2009.
Pride becomes the first Wallace State athlete to earn first-team recognition since softball's BreeAnna Blevins and Katie Gentle in 2013.
For full NJCAA All-American teams, please visit:
Pictured right is Syretha Pride
Pictured below is BreeAnna Thompson