V-Ballers seek border run
All matches broadcast live on video
Coach Moore signs Caitlyn Paschall as first SAGU recruit
BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- A younger, deeper squad has a chance to improve on a season that has already exceeded their predecessors. And the setting this weekend is the Rio Grande Valley.
Click here for RRAC tourney brackets, schedule
Head Coach Hansford Moore and the women’s volleyball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University have qualified for their eighth straight appearance in the Red River Athletic Conference tournament. What awaits the Lady Lions is perhaps their biggest challenge of the season.
It will be held over 500 miles away in Brownsville, a city of over 175,000. Forbes listed it as one of America's 12 metro areas with the cleanest air. The fresh atmosphere and pleasant, tropical breezes could fill the sails of a team wanting to go further than it has all season.
SAGU is one of six teams headed for the single-elimination tourney in which two are nationally ranked. They will likely need to defeat them both to garner a bid into the NAIA’s 32-team national playoff.
At 18-12, the Lady Lions have the third best record in the field. They finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the RRAC and are the #5 seed. For the second straight fall the team they will meet is #4 Texas Wesleyan University (15-16) in the quarterfinals at 1:00pm on Friday. Last year the Purple Pride edged the Lady Rams, 3-2, on their home court.
Fans can view all of the action by livestream video and follow the stats live, for free, at the following tourney link. http://www.utbathletics.com/article/1436.php.
The venue is being hosted by the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, which combine for an RRAC-largest enrollment of 18,000.
The RRAC Contestants
The UTB-TSC Scorpions (24-2) are the class of the conference. Ranked #2 in the nation, they have swept the competition for the third year in a row. Just behind them is Wiley College (18-7), who also picked up votes in the NAIA Coaches Poll. The Wildcats are the only team in the RRAC to win a game against UTB this season in a 3-1 home defeat.
Our Lady of the Lake University finished third. After a slow start the Saints (9-17) went 7-2 in league action, falling only to UTB and Wiley. Wesleyan, the University of St. Thomas (18-16) and SAGU were deadlocked with 5-4 ledgers against Red River foes.
Southwestern must defeat TWU on Friday, which would avenge a 3-1 setback to the Lady Rams in Ft. Work in September. That would move them into a 7:00pm showdown with the favored hosts, UT-Brownsville.
Upsetting the Stingers on their home court, the Manuel Garza Gymnasium, is a very tall order. But it is an opportunity many other teams would relish, and only SAGU has it on Friday, provided they overcome the Wesleyan Women.
Should SAGU spring the upset, they progress to Saturday’s championship match at 2:00pm, likely against the Wiley Wildcats.
The RRAC will also announce its All-Conference selections this weekend in a vote of coaches.
NCCAA Central Regional in Kansas
If the Lady Lions do not survive the RRAC tourney, they have a wholesome alternative. They would regroup and compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association’sCentral Regional, held the following weekend, November 17-19, in McPherson, Kansas.
A 9-team field has already been set, with the schedule to be released early next week.
Those who will compete, pending the outcome of their respective conference tournaments, include the following, listed in order of their seeding;
1 – Colorado Christian University (NCAA D-II)
2 – SAGU Lady Lions
3 – York College (Neb)
4 – Dallas Baptist University (NCAA D-II)
5 - Oklahoma Wesleyan University
6 – Crowley’s Ridge College (Ark)
7 – Mid-America Christian University (Ok)
8 – Southwestern Christian University (Ok)
9 – Central Christian College (Ks)
The winner of the regional moves on to Nationals, held during December 1-3 in Kissimmee, Florida.
First Recruit Signed
Coach Moore has made it official. Following the signing of Midlothian High School’s5’11 senior setter, Caitlyn Paschall , the recruiting season is underway. A formal press release about Paschall, with a photo of her signing her National Letter of Intent, is forthcoming.