SAGU at V-Ball Nationals
Lady Lions familiar in Orlando
Complete preview of 10-team field
KISSIMMEE, Florida -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s volleyball team has returned to the NCCAA Nationals for the fifth time in seven years under the leadership of head coach Hansford Moore. A 10-team field in this Orlando suburb awaits the Lady Lions, who are the #8 seed.
The teams are divided into two 5-team divisions, with each playing the other four teams in their group in pool play. After playing four matches, only the top two in each group advance to the semi-finals and finals, which will be played on Saturday, December 3.
All matches will be televised on the internet, live, at no cost for fans. Details about accessing the livestream service are posted below.
Southwestern will challenge #4 Malone University (Ohio) as one of two matches to kickoff the tournament at 10:00am on Thursday, December 1. Later in the day they will face #9 Colorado Christian University at 4:00pm.
The Lady Lions, who sport a 22-15 won-lost record, will then go up against the #1 seeded California Baptist University at 10am on Friday, Dec. 2. At 2pm, SAGU meet #5 Grace College (Indiana).
Here is a preview of the teams, brackets, and the players to watch, based on the NCCAA’s most recent statistical report.
#1 California Baptist University (20-10) “Lancers” (Riverside, Cal)
#4 Malone University (29-11) “Pioneers” (Canton, Oh)
#5 Grace College (30-10) “Lancers” (Winona Lake, Ind)
#8 SAGU (22-15) “Lions” (Waxahachie, Tx)
#9 Colorado Christian University (18-17) “Cougars” (Lakewood, Co)
#2 Palm Beach Atlantic University (27-3) “Sailfish” (WPB, Fla)
#3 Trinity Christian College (33-9) “Trolls” (Palos Heights, Ill)
#6 Dallas Baptist University (20-15) “Patriots” (Dallas, Tx)
#7 Asbury University (42-7) “Eagles” (Wilmore, Ky)
#10 Southern Wesleyan University (24-13) “Warriors” (Center, SoCar)
Most of the teams are members of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), though a few compete in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division 2. All are dual members under the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) umbrella.
The degree of competition each plays against during the regular season varies. California Baptist is from the Pacific West Conference (NCAA D2), where they finished in a tie for third at 11-5. BYU-Hawaii (19-4, 15-1) was the champion. Team stats can mean little if they were achieved against weaker foes. Dallas Baptist hit only .192, but they do battle in the fierce Heartland Conference. The Pats went 8-6 (5th) in the eight-team league.
Teams reaching the NCCAA Nationals have proven their mettle in regional fields to advance to the pinnacle. Over 100 Christian colleges are members in the NCCAA.
Pool A (Overall W-L mark in individual games) Team Hitting Percentage
#1 California Baptist (53-32) .236
#4 Malone University (89-44) .233
#5 Grace College (85-38) .217
#8 SAGU (63-45) .185
#9 Colorado Christian (55-60) .189
#2 Palm Beach Atlantic (74-12) .286
#3 Trinity Christian (94-43) .217
#6 Dallas Baptist (62-55) .192
#7 Asbury University (114-31) .270
10 Southern Wesleyan (76-48) .219
Players to Watch in Pool A
California Bapt (20-10) Lancers
Jelena Dragovic hit a sizzling .359, though she had only 161 kills. Their big hitter is Ingrid Carmona with 377 kills, averaging 4.49 per individual game. Setter Jordyn Siko makes 8.53 assists per game.
Malone Univ (29-11) Pioneers
The Ohio team has two powers to fear; Hannah Haver (.270) and Megan Fisher (.256) have 312 and 420 kills respectively, with Fisher averaging 3.16 per game. Jackie Schwamberger makes 9.51 assists each game.
Grace College (30-10) Lancers
From the Hoosier State, they boast of Dana Johnston’s .351 attacking and Stephanie Lawson’s spiking. Lawson has 367 kills, racking up 3.08 per game. Rachel Bult is #4 in the NCCAA with her 10.55 assists p/g.
Southwestern (22-15) Lions
SAGU is again about defense as their 19.4 digs per game is by far the best in the field (Southern Wesleyan is next at 15.3). Laura Espinoza makes 4.90 digs per game. Krystal Cisneros is #4 in the NCCAA in blocks per game and has registered 102 during the season. She also has the team’s best hitting percentage at .235. Taylor Calverley sets up a balanced frontline with 9.14 assists per game.
Colorado Christian (18-17) Cougars
The Coogs’ growl comes from sisters; Andi and Ali Weber. The elder Andi, a junior, has 311 kills (2.73 p/g) while hitting .257 while Ali, a 6’1 freshman, crushed 360 (3.36) and hit .217. Lauren Rosenthal makes 9.49 assists p/g.
Players to Watch in Pool B
Palm Beach Atlantic (27-3) Sailfish
From the Independent Collegiate Athletic Association, tout three heavy hitters in Lanae Robinson (.364 attack), Christiana Alessi (.325) and Mariela Quesada, the NCCAA’s top killer (5.18 per game) with 337. Becca Acevedo (9.60 assists) is charged with distributing the ball to the trio.
Trinity Christian (33-9) Trolls
From Chicago’s southwest side, TCC is paced by Jessica Wiltjer. The six-foot redshirt freshman has 282 kills, a .327 hitting percentage and 147 blocks, which ranks #6. The Trolls have three players in the Top 25 in blocks. Kaitlin Feddema’s 395 kills (3.09 p/g) are a credit to Melanie Lawrence and her 9.62 assists p/g.
Dallas Baptist (20-15) Patriots
Krystal Wunderlich (.241 hitting, 345 kills) and Kristin Secord (.240, 326 kills, 112 blocks) are a formidable duo at the net. Tyler Bradsher feeds them as part of her 9.56 helpers per game.
Asbury University (42-7) Eagles
After winning the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season (14-1 record), the Eagles lost in the finals to Indiana University-East in straight sets; 26-28, 25-27, 19-25, and the NAIA chose only the IUE Red Wolves (37-8) for the national tourney. Asbury is led by Lindsay Ibold (.420, 374 kills, 128 blocks), Dena Busse (.371, 336 kills), Kelly Cole (5.15 digs) and Mackenzie Burke (6.23 assists p/g).
Southern Wesleyan (24-13) Warriors
Hailing from the Southern States Athletic Conference (11 schools), the Warriors were 8-7 and took third in the East Division. Amber Garrett hit .313, made 367 kills (2.96 p/g) and rejected 108 shots at the net. Hayley Hoover set-up attackers with 9.40 assists per game, while Kelsey Deerinwater bagged 5.26 scoops per set.
Live Video of the Action
Fans will have access to view all of the action at no cost. The Video Webcasting will be available via GPSN Online (www.gpsnonline.com). Once established, the links for these contests will be available via the NCCAA website at www.thenccaa.org. All games will be archived for viewing for 24 hours and then will be deleted. Individuals can purchase permanent copies of games.