V-Ballers more than OK in OKC
SAGU extends win-streak to seven
Calverley, Sodich, Espinoza shine
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- The wheels on the bus go round and round!
The winningest team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University over the past six seasons, the women’s Volleyball squad, is up to their annual exploits. Saturday the 'victory bus' hit the road and made two pick-ups along the way in Oklahoma City.
Coach Hank Moore’s Lady Lions won their seventh consecutive match by sweeping both Mid-America Christian University and Southwestern Christian University. Their overall record improved to 14-8 after stamping a pair of 3-0 tickets for the win column.
With two starters (Krystal Cisneros and Kassy Cox) missing while nursing ankle injuries, SAGU’s depth rose to the occasion. Playing teams who were struggling was timely, but the way the Lady Lions attacked at the net, they would have beat many teams.
Southwestern’s patchwork line-up battled well in taking 25-22, 25-21 and 27-25 victories over MACU. Against SCU they dittoed the 3-0 sweep they had against them earlier in the week at home. The Purple Cats caught the Lady Eagles with scores of 25-14, 25-23 and 25-10.
The 7-game win-streak is the longest since the beginning of the 2009 season. That year the Lady Lions reeled off an 8-0 start during a 27-12 campaign that also featured a pair of 5-game strings of ‘W’s.’ The previous fall (2008) saw SAGU rack-up 15-straight. During the current string of wins, the Lions have won 21-of-22 games and are now 49-32 in games this fall.
In topping Mid-America (4-15 record), SAGU rode the setting hands of sophomore Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) and junior outside hitter Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) as they brushed aside the Lady Evangels.
Calverley had 32 assists while distributing the ball to five teammates along the frontlines. The “Hudson Hornet” stung 12 kills and hit .385 to lead the way.
Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels Christian) smacked 9 kills, while Jessie Giese (Tulsa, Ok / Union HS) added eight. Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) and Stephanie Pena (San Antonio, Tx / Clark HS) contributed seven and six spikes for points respectively.
While holding MACU to .200 hitting, the Lady Lions had a commanding 56-33 edge in digs. Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS) had a match-high of 16 digs. Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) and Calverley accounted for nine apiece while Hudson and Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) each had six.
Team Lioness tightened the clamps against the Eagles, limiting them to .026 hitting. Defensive digs spelled the difference again, snuffing out an endless list of would-be points. SAGU dug up 89 compared to just 52 for Southwestern Christian.
Espinoza paced the Purple with 25 digs. Calverley added 15, while Sodich and Briggs had 11 and 10 respectively. Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna HS) scooped eight and Beka Dollar (Brock, Tx / Brock HS) six.
Swinging a collective .288, one hundred points above their average, SAGU was able to utilize a dozen players and still win three sets. Sodich (*pictured right) had it going, whacking 14 kills during a .480 match. It was the tenth time she reached double digits in kills.
Her pummeling partner, Hudson, punched nine. They are the top two on the team in kills and in reaching double figures in matches. Hudson reached that level for the ninth time against MACU.
Pena was credited with eight and Laney pounded seven kills. Laney has accounted for 32 kills in the last 12 games.
Calverley completed a super week of setting with 35 assists in the three games. She bagged 92 helpers in nine games, an average of 10.2 for the week. For the season the red-headed Calverley averages 9.0 sets per game, which is fourth best in the RRAC. By setting up her teammates for kills, she gives wings to the Flying Lions.
SAGU returns to the hard-court next weekend when two of the best teams in the league come to the Sheaffer Center.
On Friday, October 14, Our Lady of the Lake University visits for a 7:00pm match. The Saints are just 4-16 overall, but are tied with SAGU in league play at 3-1. Last year OLLU went 13-5 in all matches and 11-3 in the RRAC, sweeping the Lady Lions in the process.
An even stiffer test waits on Saturday at 11:00am. The #1 ranked team in the nation, the University of Texas at Brownsville (18-0, 4-0 in RRAC) visits Waxahachie. The Scorpions were 38-2 a year ago and 34-3 in 2009.
Neither match was chosen to be broadcast by SAGU Sports Live, so fans are urged to catch the action in person.
The reappearance of Cisneros is possible. The 6-foot senior is one of the best shot blockers in the country. Cox, a sophomore, is doubtful again this week.
*Photo by Buddy Briggs