NSU’s Thompson and Wesley named to preseason all-conference teams

Northwestern State has six of its seven starters back from a 19-win team that reached the conference semifinals. Two of those players were named to the Preseason All-Southland Conference teams.  

Sophomore Reaghan Thompson was chosen to the conference’s preseason first-team while senior Symone Wesley found a spot on the second-team, her second straight preseason team selection for the Demons. 

Thompson turned in one of the best freshman seasons in program history a year ago, leading the conference in total blocks with 148 and finishing second in the league in hitting percentage at .340. The Kemah, Texas, native hit .330 or better in five of the final six matches of the season and had double-digit kills in 12 matches with two or fewer attack errors in six of those matches. 

Both the blocking and hitting percentage totals were the second highest in NSU program history, and Thompson became the first player to ever record multiple kill-block double-doubles in a career, accomplishing the feat twice during her rookie campaign. 

Wesley once again proved herself as one of the best all-around volleyball players in the league, showcasing her defensive prowess on a daily basis. 

The former 2021 Southland Newcomer of the Year led the nation in digs by an outside hitter with 517 and was twice named conference defensive player of the week a year ago. Her second weekly honor came after the final week of the season where she averaged 26.0 digs per match and an astounding 5.2 per set. 

Wesley added 268 kills and a 2.02 per set average to a balanced NSU offense with 63 total blocks. 

Both Thompson and Wesley were also one half of historic duos in NSU volleyball history a season ago. 

Thompson, on top of being the first freshman to record 100 blocks in a season, was part of the first pair of teammates, with fellow freshman Jordan Gamble, to each record 100 blocks in a single season. 

Wesley was one half of the first pair of teammates, with libero Ashlyn Svoboda, to each record 500 digs in a single season. 

All four players in both sets of historic feats will suit it up for the Demons once again this year. 

The Demons open the 2023 season on Aug. 25 at the StarkVegas Tournament hosted by Mississippi State, before their home opener against perennial national power UCLA three days later on Aug. 28 at 12:30 p.m. inside Prather Coliseum.