DiFrancesco, last year’s Southland Freshman of the Year, was a first-team selection while Sweet made the second team.
In the 2011 season, DiFrancesco led the conference with 14 double-doubles in 16 Southland matches and ranked second in conference play with 4.16 kills per set. DiFrancesco led the SLC in kills with 407 and earned second-team all-conference honors.
Sweet had a tremendous 2011 season as well, recording nine double-doubles and a team-high 1003 assists while also averaging 2.12 digs per set.
"I would say that the poll put the right people towards the top, with maybe the exception of Lamar, who I believe is just as capable as anyone else of winning the whole thing," said co-head coach Hugh Hernesman. "I think that a lot of times, people aren’t quite aware of the new people and new roles of players from one year to the next, so it’s difficult to come up with a truly accurate assessment.
"If we finish sixth or below, I’m not sure we will be all that excited about it, so our goal will be to finish better than we were picked. If we can stay healthy and play consistently I believe that that's possible.”
NSU finished eighth in the conference last season, two spots higher than the preseason polls predicted, after turning in a 6-10 Southland Conference record and earning a spot in the SLC Tournament. The six conference wins was an improvement from NSU’s 4-12 SLC finish in 2010.
The 2011 Southland Conference runner-up, Central Arkansas was picked to finish first in both the coaches poll and the SID’s poll, barely edging out SLC newcomer Oral Roberts by a total of three points.
Lamar led the way on the preseason All-SLC team with three of the 12 athletes on the first team while Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas, Oral Roberts and Stephen F. Austin each had two athletes make the first team.
The Lady Demons have two scrimmages Friday and Saturday at Prather Coliseum. They open the season against Kansas on Aug. 24 at the Arkansas Invitational.