LSU volleyball picked 4th in preseason poll

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The LSU volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in a vote by the Southeastern Conference coaches, while sophomore middle blocker Briana Holman was named to the preseason All-SEC team the league announced Tuesday.

LSU returns six starters and 11 letterwinners from a squad that went 19-13 last season and earned a trip to the NCAA tournament. The Tigers received 105 points in the poll that only predicts the winner of the regular season championship.

Last season Holman was named All-SEC and an American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention All-American.

Florida is favored to win the SEC after receiving 12 of a possible 13 first-place votes in the poll.

LSU’s Kopsco named to Pan Pacific team

LSU sophomore swimmer Kara Kopcso was named to the Junior Pan Pacific Championships team after her performance at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

The Mandeville native qualified individually for NCAA Championships last season and was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshmen team. She also set school records in the 200 butterfly and 800 freestyle relay.

Kopcso’s selection to the team is based off her performance in the 200 butterfly at the Phillips 66 National Championships held this past week in Irvine, California. Kopcso set a career best in the 200 fly (2:11.06) on her way to a second place finish in the ‘C’ final. Kopcso also took first in the ‘C’ final of the 100 fly (59.92) and fifth in the ‘C’ final of the 200 IM (2:16.77).

Charlotte bids to host NBA All-Star game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hornets owner Michael Jordan, a 14-time NBA All-Star, is pushing to bring the big game back to Charlotte.

The Hornets, in conjunction with the Charlotte Sports Foundation, announced plans Tuesday to submit a bid to host the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2017 or 2018.

A contingent of Hornets employees and city officials flew to New York Tuesday to deliver the bid to NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and other league executives following a morning press conference in Charlotte.

Williams, Tsonga lose tournament openers

MASON, Ohio — Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Venus Williams left their winning touch in Canada.

Tsonga followed his week of big upsets with an early exit Tuesday, losing his opening match at the Western & Southern Open. Two days after he won his second Masters title by beating Roger Federer in Toronto, he fell to Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-4.

“I don’t have the energy to compete,” Tsonga said after the 68-minute match. “I just gave everything last week. Before the match, I believed I was able to play at a good level. But on court, I realized that was going to be impossible. And it was.”

Williams knocked off sister Serena while reaching the finalsin Montreal on Sunday, finishing as runner-up. She lost to Lucie Safarova 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 in the first round Tuesday.

ITF rules on pair of Davis Cup venues

LONDON — The International Tennis Federation has upheld the decision to move a Davis Cup match out of Israel for security reasons and accepted a separate appeal to take another match out of Ukraine.

The ITF board of directors rejected an appeal by the Israel Tennis Association against last week’s ruling to move the Sept. 12-14 World Group playoff against Argentina to a neutral venue because of the conflict in Gaza. The match had been scheduled to be played in Tel Aviv.

The ITF said Israel has until Thursday to nominate a venue in another country.

The board also upheld an appeal by Belgium against the decision to play its World Group playoff against Ukraine in Kiev.

The ITF cites the “fluid” security situation in Ukraine.

Ukraine can nominate a neutral venue.