Packed house spurs Netters to sweep
SAGU proves tough in clutch vs Bacone
First-ever home broadcast on Tuesday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Bouncing back from a loss earlier in the week, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team swept Bacone College (Ok) in front of a large crowd in the Sheaffer Center on Friday night.
Each game in the best-of-five match was hard-fought and close until the end. SAGU came away with a tougher-than-anticipated 3-0 sweep, winning by scores of 25-22, 26-24 and 25-22.
Just 4-27 last season, a rebuilt Bacone team had their moments against the Lady Lions. Southwestern, however, was not to be denied. Playing in their home debut, they produced big hits and crucial blocks at the end of each set. It spelled the difference when the outcome hung in the balance.
“I think we came out excited to play our first home game,” said a pleased SAGU head coach, Hansford Moore. “We have the best fans in our conference. We love that they came to support us. The team fed off of the energy the crowd gave us. They kept pushing to get the victory!”
Southwestern evened their ledger at 8-8 overall and are 1-1 in the Red River Athletic Conference.
The Lady Lions outhit Bacone, .224 to .153, with margins of 42-37 in kills combined with 16 hitting errors compared to 20 by the Warriors. An area they fight to gain an advantage is making defensive digs. SAGU held a 62-54 edge in digs.
New BC coach Andrew Swagers said his team “battled well.” “We have some talented players and we showed more confidence” as the match developed.
“SAGU is talented and quick,” the Toronto, Ontario native said. “They play a very controlled, disciplined game and never appeared to be scrambling.”
He praised the effort of one of his players, junior middle blocker Aisha Colbert, for stepping up her performance. “She wants it (more playing time) and appears to be coming into her own.”
He also endorsed a Lady Lion. “Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS) was always in the right place. After a while we tried to hit it away from #2 (Espinoza), but the ball still found her.”
Espinoza led the ‘Cats in digs with 13. The senior spark plug is fourth in the RRAC, averaging 5.0 per game. Friday she averaged 4.3. Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) made 10, Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) and Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) racked up nine apiece, while Devan Guynes (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) had seven and five respectively.
Hudson enjoys stellar night
At the net, the obvious leader was Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS). The junior was tops in kills for the second straight match, blasting 11. She hit .375 and committed only two errors. She led the team in points (14), had two assisted blocks and rifled a pair of aces.
Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS), who leads the Lady ‘Cats in kills and blocks, was a constant power for Coach Moore’s program. She made two solo blocks and four assisted blocks and was tied with Sodich in kills with eight. Sodich hit .263 and Cisneros .261, who accounted directly for 12 points.
Calverley, a sophomore setter, hung 32 assists for teammates to spike. Her 10.3 sets per game total against Bacone, kept her at #4 in the RRAC at 8.6 per game. She added four kills on four tries, two of them of the surprise tap variety. (Taylor is pictured above on the left of Hudson)
Game One Review
The first game saw the Lady Lions hold small leads throughout. A soft hit by Taylor gave SAGU a 21-19 lead, and an emphatic rejection on the right side by Cisneros had SAGU on the verge of a win at 24-21. SAGU dominated at the net, hitting .303 to BC’s .121.
Game Two Recap
Southwestern had to pull up their bootstraps in the second set, falling behind 12-6. Two aces by Hudson and a teardrop tip from Sodich allowed SAGU to finally catch the Tribe at 15-15. Calverley won a dual at the net against a larger, stronger opponent, to keep the scored deadlocked at 20.
Still tied at 24, Calverley was like a Red Bull, giving her teammates wings!
Her set to Cisneros was detonated, and Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / N. Braunfels Christian) pounded another assist for the game-winner. A hardy BC team held an .081 to .051 edge in hitting.
Game Three Recall
Behind a kill on the right side and a tip, both off the hands of Cox, a sophomore, the Lions built a 9-6 lead in the third game. A combo rejection by Cisneros and Hudson lifted the Jungle Kings to a 14-10 scoreboard bulge. A Sodich sideline kill maintained the lead at 16-14 before the Warriors rallied.
In arrears 21-19, Hudson starred as a rock down the stretch.
She drilled a Taylor-made set on the left side to start a 6-0 run to finish off the Okies from Muskogee. A BC net violation tied the score at 21, and a hitting error pushed SAGU on top for good at 22-21. Hudson administered the coup de grace.
A Taylor helper was nailed so hard it glanced off a Warrior's shoulder, landing beyond the back line for a two-point lead. She then united with Cisneros for a double-team block. At match-point, Taylor assisted a ‘Rock’ Hudson blasted that angled from left-to-right to finish off the Warriors, 25-22.
Post-Match insights from Coach Moore
“What a good night of volleyball,” Coach Moore summarized. “Our opponent was a greatly improved team. They had some very strong players. I’m impressed with what their new coach has done with that program.”
“Our kids played with great heart tonight,” Moore resumed. “Being down 12-6, then coming back to win, was a huge comeback for us. Krystal had a great match at the net and our defense really played well.”
On his team’s record, Moore added: “I’m glad to be 8-8, but it is not where we wanted to be at this point in the season. This next week will be very important for us.”
Next week’s V-Ball menu
The Lady Lions will play the University of Dallas at home on Tuesday night at 7:00pm. It will be the first-ever match to be broadcast by livestream for SAGU Volleyball. The pre-game show will begin at 6:45pm.
They will travel to Austin to meet Huston-Tillotson University on Friday (6:30pm) night before taking on the University of St. Thomas (Houston) on Saturday we will play UST. The best-of-five match with the Lady Celts has a new start time: 1:00pm. It previously had a 2pm first service time.