Volleyball: Lady Lions Tip Off Season
New Look Team Plays in Tournament
FORT WORTH, Texas -- The 2010 volleyball season officially begins this afternoon at Texas Wesleyan University, who are hosting rhe 4th Annual Becky Hughes V-Ball Classic in Fort Worth. Southwestern Assemblies of God University, who posted a 28-12 record a year ago, have three matches on tap during the two-day event.
SAGU meets Loyola University, from New Orleans, Louisiana, today at 2:00pm in the Sid Richardson Arena. The Wolfpack enjoyed a winning season last fall as they finished with a 20-15 won-lost mark.
Head Coach Hank Moore has a young team this year, and must replace a pair of graduated All-American players in setter Rachel Brown and outside hitter Kelani Daniels. With six returning veterans and as many freshmen, he has a blend of talent and experience. This figures to be the tallest team he has fielded in his nine years in Waxahachie. With three early season tournaments, he has the perfect opportunity to establish his new line-up and bring clarity to the team's rotation.
Southwestern has two more tournament matches scheduled for Saturday, August 28. They will tangle with Mid-America Christian University at 1:00pm, followed with a 5:00pm, first-ever clash with Brenau University. MACU is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, while Brenau (pronounced BREE-now) hails from Gainesville, Georgia.
The Lady Lions, who have a streak of five straight seasons with 20 or more wins, are led by tri-captains Brittani Toole (Whitehouse, Tx / Whitehouse HS), Tina Brown (Seguin, Tx / Lifegate Christian) and Jordan Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS). One of the expected starters is sophomore Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS). She was cleared to resume practicing this week after a foot injury that required crutches and weeks off the court. Without her presence on the frontline, the squad has seen several newcomers step up their play.
Perhaps the most common question the team has faced since advancing to the NCCAA Nationals in Orlando, Florida last November, has been about the setter position. Rachel Brown held the reigns in that critical role since her freshman campaign, where she assisted attacks at the net with around 4,000 sets during her career. Coach Moore had several options at setter, but appears to have settled with freshman Taylor Calverley (pictured above at Grace, #20), a 5-foot-10 freshman out of Arlington's Grace Prep. Her size and skilled hands could be the quarterback for the team, distributing the ball with strategic bumps, passes and sets to teammates in attacking position.
Which of the remaining freshmen who have warranted consideration in the main rotation will be in view today and Saturday in Ft. Worth. Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS, #11 in photo), a 6-footer with impressive power, has been coming on of late.
Results of the tournament will be posted this weekend, including photographs by Monday.