V-Ball Lions Rally from 2-0 Deficit, Edge Payne
Cisneros, Espinoza help stage comeback
SHERMAN, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to pull out an emotional 3-2 victory against Howard Payne University on Saturday at the 16th annual Austin College Classic.
The Lady Lions came up just short, losing 25-22 and 25-23 in the first two sets. Head Coach Hansford “Hank” Moore’s squad then came roaring back to take the next three by scores of 25-14, 25-19 and 15-11 in the pivotal fifth game.
SAGU’s final match in the two-day event was a 3-1 setback at the hands of Hardin Simmons University (5-2 record); 23-25, 25-20, 21-25, 17-25. The Cowgirls went 4-0 at the tourney.
Southwestern showed their teeth during the third set against Howard Payne. The defense, a staple of Moore-coached teams, had six players with eight or more digs, and four frontliners blocked five or more shots. Facing elimination, the Lions forced the Yellow Jackets into hitting a minus .294 in that third set.
In the fourth and fifth games, SAGU allowed them to hit only .143 and .097 as they staged three straight wins.
Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS), who is second in the Red River Athletic Conference in digs (#30 nationally) per game at 5.1, bagged 25 in five games to lead the way. Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS), who is tenth in the league, had 16 digs. Devan Guynes (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) both had 14.
Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) had a huge match. The senior middle blocker hit .367 while making 15 kills. She was a tower inside with 11 blocks; three solo and eight assisted rejections. Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) and Hudson hammered 11 kills apiece.
The Lady Lions, who utilized two setters on Saturday, were paced by Carleigh Dollar (Brock, Tx / Brock HS), who had 36 assists. Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) added 10.
Tourney finale versus Cowgirls
In the loss to Hardin-Simmons, the ‘Cats outhit the Pokes, .100 to just .062. However, HSU (from Abiline, Tx) managed to gain a 95-86 edge in points.
Sodich and Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels Academy) had nine kills apiece. Espinoza was credited with 20 digs, while Dollar and Guynes made 11 and 10 respectively. Dollar set up 20 kills while Calverley had 10 helpers. Dollar also served three aces.
SAGU is now 5-7 overall, which is good for fourth in the early standings in the 10-team RRAC. The Lady Lions are 22-26 in actual games, all on the road.
On the Road Again
The team will finish the first half of the regular season with three more away matches, meaning their first 15 are away from the Sheafer Center. They travel to Arkansas to play John Brown University on Friday, September 16, and will face Oklahoma Wesleyan on Saturday, Sept. 17. The Purple Pride will begin the RRAC season in Fort Worth on Sept. 20 against Texas Wesleyan.