Toole, Hudson were Cowtown Powers

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The progress made by head coach Hank Moore's women's volleyball team this fall added yet another impressive chapter over the weekend.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University qualified for another berth in the Red River Athletic Conference in a rebuilding season. On Friday at the Sid Richardson Arena, the #4 seeded Lady Lions rallied to stun the host Texas Wesleyan University, 3-2.

It was the manner in which they won that made the win so rewarding. "This team battles so well," said Coach Moore. "They find ways to win, and they continue to get better."

Summary of a Five-Set Thriller

It didn't look that way at the start. The Lady Rams were red-hot in winning the opening game of the tournament by a 25-12 count in which they hit a sizzling .485. SAGU rebounded, not with offense, but with their trademark - defense. They overcame a 21-17 deficit to win, 26-24, while limiting the Wesleyan Women to an .088 attacking percentage. After two games they were down 31-16 in kills, yet deadlocked 1-1.

Team Lioness broke a 17-17 tie in the third set to post a 25-21 triumph, as they continued to limit the Rams at the net. TWU hit just .059 while the Lions swung .106 arms. In the two wins they forced 20 hitting errors by the Rams while making just 11.

It was all-Wesleyan in the fourth game. A talented team that was also meshing in new players and a new scheme, TWU battled the inconsistencies that usually come with young players. They rediscovered their hammers in a must-win fourth game. The Rams jumped to a 9-2 lead and zoomed ahead 17-4 before prevailing 25-10. They hit .302 compared to the Lady Lions' .024.

During their wins in games one and four the Rams smashed 32 kills while committing only three errors. The match was tied, 2-2, even though TWU had a 95-72 lead in points and held 60-34 advantage in kills.

Game Five:  White-Knuckles

The deciding fifth game, played to 15, was a classic. There were four lead changes and six ties during a nerve-wracking game to decide whose season would continue. SAGU went up 4-0 before the Rams reeled off seven unanswered points. The purple-cladded Pride regained the lead at 8-7 and appeared in control at 13-11. A net serve almost sunk the 'Cats, as the error sparked a Rams rally to take a 14-13 lead. Coach Moore called a time-out to discuss strategy for stopping the TWU run as well as mounting a counter by the Lady Lions.

As they had throughout the afternoon match, senior Brittani Toole (Whitehouse, Tx / Whitehouse HS) and Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) were huge in the clutch.

Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) set-up Hudson at the net and the sophomore unleashed a crosscourt dagger to knot the score. Jordan Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) went to the backline to serve what would become the winning points. Her first became a point on an attack error by the Rams, putting SAGU in position to win.

TWU set up a spike in a bid for the equalizing point. That attempt went begging when Toole and Hudson joined to form a double-team block. It sent the ball back to where it came from and the Lions into celebration frenzy!

Blue Collars Working til the 5 O'Clock Whistle

Moore-coached teams are known for their proletarian ways, donning their hard hats, gloves, jeans, boots and lunch pails.

On Friday they had three solo blocks and 12 assisted blocks (Toole had 2 and 4) and shined the floor with 102 digs. Briggs was credited with 31 of those digs, with Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS) making 24 and Hudson another 17. They contested every kill and scrapped with a never-say-die spirit.

SAGU was outhit .157 to .070 in the match, and were on the wrong end of a 67-38 number in kills. But they coaxed 33 errors and executed well when games were on the line. That was the difference.

Individually, SAGU was led by Toole's 15 kills and .256 hitting percentage. Hudson powered 11 shots and Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) contributed six. Southwestern set up Hudson for 57 tries, 14 more attempts than Toole. Briggs and Calverley split the team's four aces, with the latter making 31 assists.

The Lions also got great contributions from Tina Brown (Seguin, Tx / Lifegate Christian), who one of five in double-figures in digs. Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) added two kills and two blocks. Beka Dollar (Weatherford, Tx / Brock HS) was inserted at a critical time in games for her ability to handle hot serves, which she did well. She also had a kill and an assist.

The win improved the Lady Lions' overall record to 18-16. They won their season series with Wesleyan, 2-1.

Wesleyan had a season-best performance by their #5 attacker, Lynsay Buell. She racked up 21 kills and hit .366. Evoni Darling, who was outstanding as she set up teammates with 55 assists, continually fed Buell (pronounced like fuel), who had 41 attempts. TWU had four players with 38 or more attacks. Marissa Rangel had a match high 40 digs.

Semi-Final Match:  SAGU vs. UT-Brownsville

Southwestern advanced to the semi-finals to face the University of Texas at Brownsville. The Scorpions, ranked #2 nationally in the most-recent NAIA Coaches Poll, are an imposing squad. They boast ten international players and have a 34-1 record. Their only defeat came at the hands of #1 Lee University (Tenn, 35-0 record), a team that recruited UTB's best players from last year's 34-3 team.

SAGU played quite well but couldn't match the talent of Brownsville, who swept the best-of-five match. It was not without a set to remember.

Southwestern engaged in an epic battle to prove their metal, and it revealed a solid core of blue-grade steel.

Tied at 8-8, the Lady Lions surged ahead of the Stingers by hitting .242 in the game.

Hudson and Toole found a seam in the UTB defense they attacked with success. Calverley set Hudson for a kill and a 9-8 lead. Cisneros stroked an unassisted smash and a 10-8 advantage which was extended when she was joined by Calverley to stuff Erica Chimak. A Cisneros swing following a Calvarley helper gave Team Purp a 12-9 upper hand.

An attacking error by the Scorpions increased their margin to 13-9. When Toole unloaded a kill through a block attempt, the bench and Lions fans were on their feet at 14-10. Toole and Calverley soared for a combo block of Chimak, and Cox ripped a blast, prompting a UTB timeout as the SAGU lead was 16-10. The margin remained at six (17-11) when the national power began a comeback.

Toole, whose consistent play over her four year career is as impressive as her constant demeanor, delivered a kill and an 18-14 lead. With Brown inspiring her troops with edifying energy, the Lions battled like warriors. Cisneros crushed a shot (19-15), and, after a service error by RRAC Player of the Year, Danica Markovic (Dah-NEETZ-uh MARK-O-vich), Brown assisted a thunderous blast by Hudson (21-18). Hudson exploded into a Calverley to widen the lead to 22-18, and Texas' Southernmost College called another timeout.

UTB responded with a fury, with two aces, two kills and an attack error by the Lions to reclaim the lead at 23-22. Southwestern's passing game, effective throughout the match, led to a Calverley assist that Hudson detonated to level the scoreboard at 23's.

The sweating Scorpions, who lost just three sets all season within the RRAC (two by Wiley, one by TWU), put the set away when Ana Guerra and Markovic, from Serbia, their top two killers, added solo shots. Guerra's hitting percentage for the year is a white-hot .424, with Markovich at .282. The latter, though, has 126 more kills than Guerra (GAIR-uh).

Besides the 25-23 triumph, UTB won the other sets 25-13 and 25-10.

Cat Stats

Toole paced the Lions with seven kills, while Hudson added six, Cisneros four, Cox three and Brown two. Cox had a solo block, while Calverley, Toole and Cisneros made three, two and one assist blocks. Calverley totaled 18 assists.

In defensive digs, five players had six or more, led by Briggs' 11. Taylor was credited with seven, while Espinoza, Brown and Hudson each registered six. Toole and Brown both served up a hot tater (ace).

UTB, the #8 team in the country in aces, finished with nine, but also made eight service errors. SAGU, #45 in the category, had a pair and just one mistake.

Markovic was easily the player of the match as she finished with 20 kills in just three games. She had 30 attacks and only one error, good for a .633 night.

UTB Takes Out Wiley in the Finals

UTB went on to win the Red River championship, sweeping #3 seed Wiley College in the finals, 3-0; 25-17, 25-19, 25-15. They are the lone league rep in the NAIA national tournament. Wiley defeated the #2 seed, Our Lady of the Lake University (13-5), in the semi's, 3-0; 25-21, 25-16, 28-26. The Wildcats finished their season at 21-9.

On Deck for SAGU:  NCCAA Regionals

Next up for the SAGU Lady Lions (18-17) is a berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association's Central Regional. The two day event will be held in Oklahoma City next weekend. The Lions are paired against Dallas Baptist University (16-18). The Lady Patriots (NCAA Division II) lost in the finals of the Heartland Conference tournament in Austin on Saturday.

SAGU is guaranteed two matches. Should they win the Central, the 'Cats would again advance to the NCCAA Nationals in Orlando the first weekend in December. Last year coach Moore's squad received their highest seeding ever, #3, in an eight-team finals field. SAGU finished 28-12.

A preview of the Central Regionals will appear on Thursday.

Photos from Fort Worth will be uploaded Tuesday.

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Hunt for outside hitter leads to Cavegirl

Apr 04, 2013 - Volleyball News

V-Ball inks outside hitter from Carlsbad, NM Brianna Hunt signs Letter of Intent with SAGU WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The off-season recruiting efforts of the Southwestern Ass...

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Lady Lion netters land Criddle

Lady Lion netters land Criddle

Jan 02, 2013 - Volleyball News

Middle Hitter hails from South Texas All-District player led Livingston to 23-14 season WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The popular television show that airs on Animal Planet, River Mon...

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Three named V-Ball All-Region

Three named V-Ball All-Region

Nov 29, 2012 - Volleyball News

Sodich, Cox, Calverley honored by NCCAA SAGU has as many chosen as top-ranked teams Click here for the complete 12-person All-Region team. WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  ...

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Spotlight on Sophomore Spiker

Spotlight on Sophomore Spiker

Nov 19, 2012 - Volleyball News

Jessica Sodich, RRAC Leader in Kills The Inside on an Outside Hitter By Tyler-Marie Evans You can hear a pen drop in the gym. Eyes scan the court as the crowd and the players anticip...

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VBall Lions caged by McMurry, 3-1

VBall Lions caged by McMurry, 3-1

Nov 17, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU season ends at 18-17 Sodich has 21 kills, 21 digs in setback WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  After taking the first game against McMurry University, the Southwestern Assemblies of ...

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Cox, SAGU sweep Pioneers, 3-0

Cox, SAGU sweep Pioneers, 3-0

Nov 17, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions cruise to tourney victory Dollar, Giese step in, shine on front line WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team defeated Crowle...

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SAGU plays twice at home on Friday

SAGU plays twice at home on Friday

Nov 16, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions swept in regional opener Noon and 8pm matches could end season WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  A year ago the Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team won bo...

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SAGU hosts V-Ball Regional, Thu-Sat

SAGU hosts V-Ball Regional, Thu-Sat

Nov 15, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions play 3 matches on Thu-Fri Tourney winner qualifies for Orlando Nationals WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The reward of months of training and their college volleyba...

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VBall falls at RRAC Tourney

VBall falls at RRAC Tourney

Nov 11, 2012 - Volleyball News

St. Thomas upends Lady Lions, 3-1 SAGU to host regional tourney, Nov-15-17  FORT WORTH, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s volleyball team...

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Lady Lions in VB Tourney in Cowtown

Lady Lions in VB Tourney in Cowtown

Nov 08, 2012 - Volleyball News

Event pits the RRAC's Top 6 teams SAGU set for 1:30pm and 7pm slots on Friday WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In a city known for being a historical post along the famed Chisholm Trail...

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V-Ball's Smith is cited by the RRAC

V-Ball's Smith is cited by the RRAC

Nov 08, 2012 - Volleyball News

Freshman named libero of the week Smith made a season-high 29 digs vs. Wiley College WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Red River Athletic Conference has announced their weekly player ...

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Another winning V-Ball season for SAGU

Another winning V-Ball season for SAGU

Nov 06, 2012 - Volleyball News

Streak against Jarvis now at 10 straight Career tribute for senior Caitlyn Hudson WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University made quick work of Jarvis Chr...

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RRAC VBall tourney berth clinched

RRAC VBall tourney berth clinched

Nov 05, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions sweep Texas College, 3-0 Career-best nine kills by freshman Abbott WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Like a mighty river, the women’s volleyball team at Southwestern Assemblies...

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Lady Lions edged by Wiley, 3-2

Lady Lions edged by Wiley, 3-2

Nov 04, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU builds 2-0 lead; falls in fifth, 15-13 Calverley, Smith, Sodich, Hudson, Cox shine brightly WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball...

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VBall Lions drop match after 2-0 lead

VBall Lions drop match after 2-0 lead

Nov 03, 2012 - Volleyball News

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team built a 2-0 lead with impressive play against Wiley College on Friday night. The visiting Wild...

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Tonight: Volleyball, Women's Hoops

Tonight: Volleyball, Women's Hoops

Nov 02, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions host three VB matches Fri/Sat SAGU women's basketball plays twice in OKC WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Fall sports are entering the closing weeks of their seasons, while wi...

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Lady Lions Volleyball Update

Lady Lions Volleyball Update

Oct 30, 2012 - Volleyball News

Three home matches this weekend Sodich, Taylor honored by RRAC WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Heading into their final week of the regular season the Southwestern Assemblies of God Uni...

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SNU tops Lady Lions in four games

SNU tops Lady Lions in four games

Oct 25, 2012 - Volleyball News

Sodich double-double impressive in setback Season ends Nov. 2-3 with 3 home matches WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) had 24 kills and 22...

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Lions roar past Eagles in 3-0 sweep

Lions roar past Eagles in 3-0 sweep

Oct 23, 2012 - Volleyball News

Hudson, Sodich, Cox combined for 33 kills SAGU now on 14-4 run; hosts SNU Thursday WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University had a collective hot han...

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Home V-Ball match tonight

Home V-Ball match tonight

Oct 23, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions welcome Southwestern Christian Rematch of earlier meeting in Oklahoma WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The women’s volleyball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God Universi...

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VB swept in Alamo City, 3-0

VB swept in Alamo City, 3-0

Oct 22, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU edged in three close games Lady Lions home on Tues. and Thurs. WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  There was plenty of fuzzy math in the box score to suggest a one-sided contest. The g...

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Border run no fun for VBall Lions

Border run no fun for VBall Lions

Oct 20, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU swept by NAIA's #1 team Eight-match win streak snapped BROWNSVILLE, Texas  --  Facing the nation’s best team, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s volleyb...

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Volleyball players cited for their efforts

Volleyball players cited for their efforts

Oct 17, 2012 - Volleyball News

Calverley, Cox get top weekly honors Both juniors are repeat winners this season WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Two volleyball players from Southwestern Assemblies of God University we...

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VBall team pleads the fifth

VBall team pleads the fifth

Oct 14, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU takes two matches in five games Winning streak extended to eight straight WAXAHACHIE, Texas --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University completed a 5-0 week wit...

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V-Ball Lions thump HT in 3-0 sweep

Oct 13, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU hosts two matches on Saturday Sodich, Cox, Hudson reach double-digits in kills WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s volleyball team...

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Lady Lions continue solid play

Lady Lions continue solid play

Oct 10, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU thumps Univ. of Dallas, 3-1 Sodich, Cox, Calverley likened to All-Americans IRVING, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team didn’t ha...

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VBall team tops U-of-Dallas, 3-1

VBall team tops U-of-Dallas, 3-1

Oct 09, 2012 - Volleyball News

THIS JUST IN: The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team defeated the University of Dallas, three games to one, this evening in Irving. The Lady Lions, now 11-10...

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Friendly Rivals Collide

Friendly Rivals Collide

Oct 09, 2012 - Volleyball News

Post-Match Dialogue Interview with SAGU’s Moore, MACU’s Ruiz WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Following Monday’s surprising 3-0 sweep of Mid-America Christian University, Head Coach Hans...

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Red-hot V-Ball team sweeps MACU

Red-hot V-Ball team sweeps MACU

Oct 09, 2012 - Volleyball News

Cox, Calverley lead Colossians Crew Team attack executes at high level in sweep WAXAHACHIE, Texas   --   The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team...

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Volleyball match at home tonight

Volleyball match at home tonight

Oct 08, 2012 - Volleyball News

SAGU hosts Mid-America Christian at 7pm Kassy Cox earns RRAC Player of the Week WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Tonight’s 7:00pm (CST) non-conference volleyball clash between the visiti...

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VBall rallies for big win in Houston

VBall rallies for big win in Houston

Oct 06, 2012 - Volleyball News

Down 2-1, SAGU storms back, wins 3-2 Calverley, Cox team-up to knock 'em down HOUSTON, Texas  --  Led by juniors Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) and Kassy Cox (Lu...

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VBall, Soccer play in Houston today

VBall, Soccer play in Houston today

Oct 06, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions meet St. Thomas at 1pm Lions soccer takes on Celts at 6pm HOUSTON, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's volleyball team, winners of seven...

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Calverley honored again by RRAC

Calverley honored again by RRAC

Oct 01, 2012 - Volleyball News

Junior named Setter of the Week Enabling others is her role for teammates WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  “Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.” The words of America...

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VBall highlights of win over UTPB

VBall highlights of win over UTPB

Sep 30, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions clip NCAA D2 Falcons Off this week, SAGU has 5 matches next week Video highlights now posted on new Facebook Fan Page WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Saturday a...

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V-Ball thumps NCAA Division 2 team

Sep 30, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions tops UT-Permian Basin, 3-1 Calverley, SAGU rolls to seventh win in last nine WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University put three players in do...

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VB Lions lasso Mustangs, 3-0

Sep 30, 2012 - Volleyball News

Sodich, Cox crush 16, 11 kills in sweep Calverley lifts 37 assists, Hudson hits .471 HOBBS, New Mexico  --  Behind a methodically efficient attack, Southwestern Assem...

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Lady Lions fall in five to Wesleyan

Lady Lions fall in five to Wesleyan

Sep 25, 2012 - Volleyball News

Lady Lions trimmed in classic shootout Hudson eclipses 1,000 career kills WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The expected battle didn’t surprise anyone. The length of engagement was also r...

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