Netters Clinch Tourney Berth
Lady Lions sweep Southwest, 3-0
Spotlight shines on trio of seniors
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Engaged in a match whose winner would qualify for a place in next weekend’s Red River Athletic Conference tournament, Southwestern Assemblies of God University laid claim to their share of that tourney berth with a sweep against University of the Southwest.
The 3-0 triumph was tougher than the score would indicate. The visiting Mustangs, playing v-ball this fall after the program was in hiatus the previous three seasons, battled staunchly. Under Head Coach Sonya Petroski , they gave the Lady Lions all they could handle in the first and third sets. But their youth, with 13 freshmen on their roster, could carry them only so far.
Veteran Head Coach Hank Moore and his squad, which has just four upperclassmen, proved to have too much firepower down the stretch to be denied on this day. The Lady Lions received outstanding performances by their senior threesome of Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS), Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) and Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS).
Making a Run for the Border
SAGU won 25-19, 25-15 and 25-20 to finish the season with an 18-12 overall record. Their 5-4 league mark in the RRAC is tied for 4th with Texas Wesleyan University (15-16) and St. Thomas (18-16). The trio each split their two matches against each other.
The tie-breaker will affect the pairings in the tourney. League Commissioner Tony Stigliano will determine the seedings this weekend, possibly with a Sunday drawing. The results will be posted at www.redriverconference.com.
Southwestern will be playing one of three teams in the opening round of the Red River tourney, held in Brownsville, Texas, November 11-12. The 2nd ranked (NAIA National Coaches Poll) Scorpions will be playing at home in the Manuel Garza Gymnasium, which sits within sight of the Rio Grande Valley.
Our Lady of the Lake University (9-17), Wesleyan or St. Thomas could stand in the way of the Lady Lions and a semi-final date with either Wiley College (18-7) or the University of Texas at Brownsville (24-2).
The Lady Lions have been in the league for eight years. In each season they have qualified for a spot in the post-season tourney.
Taming the Ponies
SAGU held a commanding edge in hitting accuracy on Saturday. Their hitting percentage finished at .278, making 41 kills and only eleven errors in three games. USW ended at .108, 27 and 16.
The three seniors each played an essential role on Saturday. Espinoza scooped up 21 saves in only three games, a whopping 7 per. It was her 12th consecutive double-digit effort in digs. In fact, she has reached double figures in 27 of 30 matches, including twelve times with 20 or more. Her agility and knack for the ball led her to a number of diving saves, resembling a fireman’s instructions. She stopped, dropped and rolled while keeping rallies alive!
Cisneros hit the ball with authority throughout the three-set sweep against the Fillies. The 5’11 middle blocker pounded nine kills, with four of them being detonated at the net. She added one solo block and three assisted blocks.
Brown was a range-rover, covering the entire court. She blasted three kills on nine swings, her third most attempts this year. The defensive specialist was set several times at the end of the third game in a bid to have her close out the 3-0 triumph. She did just that with a shot down the middle to nail it down. She also contributed an assist, an ace and nine digs.
Other players with solid numbers included sophomore setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep). She racked up 34 assists (11.3 per game) and had the team’s only other solo block. Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) had 10 kills and hit .571.
Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian), a freshman, accounted for eight spikes for points. She led the team in kills with 265, 40 more than second place Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS). Hudson had four kills and zero errors and led with two service aces.
Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels Christian) recorded seven kills against zero errors while totaling four combo blocks. Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) must’ve worn pot holders, handling nine digs, some of the blistered variety.