V-Ball awards list, records grow
Brown, Cisneros, Espinoza honored
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s volleyball team, fresh off of their 2011 campaign, continue to make news.
Head Coach Hansford Moore announced that a pair of seniors was recognized by the National Christian College Athletic Association for their achievements this season.
Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) was cited as an Academic All-American for a grade point average over 3.50.
The 5’7 Brown was a regular in the Lions rotation for all four years, racking up 302 career kills while hammering 158 service aces. Impressive in her versatile roles, she managed to make 87 blocks while scooping up 1390 digs, an average of 347 per year (2.6 per game). She was credited with 40 aces per season.
Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) has filled stat sheets and made headlines throughout her time at Southwestern. She added another honor at the close of the season when the NCCAA named her an All-American on the Second Team.
A 5-foot-11 middle blocker was a menace at the mesh! She had a career-best 329 kills as a senior, or 2.6 spikes for points per individual game. Her trademark was quick detonations before assists reached their apex, often crushing kills that appear to go straight down.
She hit .262 this fall to finish #7 in the Red River Athletic Conference. In fact, the Lady Lions placed four in the Top 20; Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) and Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS). Only Wiley College had as many.
While her authoritative swings were effective, opponents likely spent more time defending her ability to block shots at the net. Cisneros (SISS-nair-ohs) had 176 solo blocks and 295 times she teamed up with a teammate for assisted blocks. According to Moore, she became the team’s all-time leader in the category.
As a freshman she had 142 blocks, 71 of them solo. That ranked her ninth in the nation in solo rejections.
A third senior, Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS), drew the praise of Coach Moore.
She set a school record for the most digs achieved in a season with 687. That total, which ranked #23 in the NAIA, was more than anyone in the RRAC. Zo’s 4.7 digs per game was second only to Paula Barros (5.3). She was a standout for the national champions from UT-Brownsville.
“She had an amazing year,” Moore said of Espinoza. “I never dreamed that anyone would break the digs record here.”
Esther Jacquez held the mark since she was credited with 653 in the 2006 season. Jacquez, a libero, had 628 in 2005.
The following season, 2007, the Lady Lions had four players with over 500 digs. Kelly Ray’s 585 was tops. Rachel Brown made 415 digs in 2008, while Tina Brown’s 437 was best on the squad in 2009.
A year later saw another new digs leader in Jordan Briggs. She bagged 487 in 2010. Briggs is now an Assistant Coach for Southwestern.
“We went 23-18 this year,” added Coach Moore. “It ended up being a good year!”
Indeed. SAGU finished in a 3-way tie for fourth in the RRAC. In the conference tournament they Lady Lions rallied from an 0-2 deficit to stun Texas Wesleyan University, 3-2, on the Rams’ home court. Southwestern was swept by UT-Brownsville (32-2 record), who went on to win their first national championship.
The Lions then advanced to the NCCAA Nationals in Orlando a month ago. There, Coach Moore’s club went 1-3, nearly moving to the Final Four. SAGU’s high point was an upset of Malone University (29-11 record in NCAA D2), three-games-to-two.