Netters top Celts, 3-1
SAGU depth counters star-power
Sodich, Calverley lead 4th win-in-a-row
HOUSTON, Texas -- The saying, “there is strength in numbers’ was never more true than Saturday afternoon at the Jerabeck Activity Center.
While the home team, the University of Saint Thomas had the standout players in Regina Trapp and Brittany Weiler , it was the balance of the visiting Lady Lions that proved to be the difference.
SAGU won the best-of-five match by winning three games to one. They took the first set, 27-25, as well as the second, 25-16, for a 2-0 lead. UST regrouped and rolled to a 25-18 triumph. But in the fourth game the Lions rallied to win, 25-20.
Southwestern, victors in four matches in a row, are now 11-8 on the season and 3-1 in the Red River Athletic Conference. St. Thomas slipped to 11-6 and 2-1. The Celts (pronounced Kelts) defeated Texas Wesleyan the night before. The win moves SAGU into third place where they trail only #1 ranked UT-Brownsville (16-0, 2-0) and Wiley College (13-7, 4-1).
Both Rapp and Weiler won conference Player of the Week primarily for their effort against the Lady Lions.
Rapp racked up 27 kills and Weiler distributed 60 assists in the four games. Evon Welch and Stephanie Biediger had 13 and 12 kills, as St. Thomas owned a whopping 70-50 margin in total spikes for points.
Strength lies in SAGU's depth
But Coach Hank Moore’s club weathered the Celts storm well, and countered with a disciplined attack that more than offset their star-led assault.
The Lions hit well above their season average (.176) in all four games; .269, 240, 250 and .314 in the fourth set to average .273. They made just nine errors in four games.
St. Thomas swung .220, 200, .342 and .142. Their combined .225 effort included 30 hitting errors.
Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) led Southwestern with a dozen kills against a lone miscue. Sophomore setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) went to Sodich more than any player (35 attempts) and finished with 38 assists in the match.
Calverley added to her sets by firing 12 attacks without a single error. Her seven kills gave her a team-best .583 hitting percentage. Along with Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian), she uncorked three serving aces, where SAGU had an 8-3 advantage.
Gold Diggers and Garlic
Going up against the taller Celts, the Lady Lions defense was as strong as a garlic milkshake.
Six players had seven or more digs as Team Lioness returned to sender 77 of their would-be kills.
Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS) won Libero of the Week honors in the RRAC for scooping up 24 digs against UST. It was the ninth time this season she eclipsed 20 digs. Her 4.9 per game average is second in the league.
Calverley accounted for 12 digs, while Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) made 9, Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna HS) had 8 and both Sodich and Brown salvaged seven apiece.
The triumph over UST on the road, which SAGU hasn’t done in recent seasons, was made more impressive when considering senior Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) left the match in the first game with an ankle sprain.
Lady Lions and Lady Eagles on Tuesday, October 4
Southwestern returns to the court on Tuesday, October 4, when they welcome Southwestern Christian University (7-6, 0-4)for a 7:00pm match. The Lady Eagles are currently in last place in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference.
SAGU Sports Live will broadcast the best-of-five affair over the internet in high definition. The pre-match show, with announcers Clay Scarborough and Tim Roberts, starts at 6:45pm.
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