Pacific Northwest VBall player signs
JJ Abbott signs with SAGU
Middle Blocker could fill the center void
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Filling a hole can be exciting when it’s molten chocolate caving in on a fresh chocolate cake. But it can be a challenge when trying to fill the void of back-to-back graduating All-Conference volleyball players.
For veteran Head Coach Hansford “Hank” Moore, who just completed his 11th year at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, the rigors of guiding a winning program keeps him on the recruiting trail.
He recently signed JJ Abbott, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker from the Pacific Northwest. She is expected “…to come in here as a freshman and compete for a starting job,” says Coach Moore.
Abbott will be seeking to fill the shoes of Brittani Toole (Whitehouse, Tx / Whitehouse HS) and Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS).
The pair of Middle Blockers both racked up record-setting careers by winning All-Conference in the RRAC and All-American honors in the NCCAA; Toole in 2010 and Cisneros in 2011.
Filling in this fall could be JJ (Jessica Jane) Abbott. She is from the Puget Sound region in Kenmore, Washington, named one of the ten best towns for families in 2009 by Family Circle Magazine.
Abbott played for Marni Drechse, the head coach at Cedar Park Christian School (a ministry of Cedar Park Assembly of God) in nearby Bothell (BAHTH-el). It is just north of Kirkland and 20 miles north of Seattle.
Mount Rainier towers in the horizon. The Lady Lions hope Abbott can do the same, anchoring the center of the court with rejections on defense and hit quick sets for the offense.
Abbott knows a thing or two about what it takes to win.
The CPC Eagles went 18-6 overall and won the nine-team Emerald City Conference with an 11-0 mark last fall. They were 23-2 and 13-0 the year before. In the past four seasons they have soared with a combined 73-13 ledger and 42-1 in league play.
“I believe she (Abbott) will be competing to start opposite of Kassy Cox,” Coach Moore said of the junior-to-be, 6’1 Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS). “She is a great kid,” he continued, “who is going to develop into a very strong volleyball player.”
She has many of the attributes that are required by the MB position; height, quickness, strength, good blocking skill and the ability to read the opposing setter’s direction of attack.
She is the daughter of Greg and Carrie Abbott. Her mother has spoken previously in chapel at SAGU.
About Southwestern Volleyball
Southwestern went 23-18 last fall, finishing fourth in the Red River Athletic Conference, a division I member in the 300-member National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
The Purple Pride posted an 18-12 regular season mark and qualified for a berth in the conference tourney for the eighth consecutive season. They defeated Texas Wesleyan University three-games-to-two in the opening round behind a career-best 24 kills from Cisneros.
UT-Brownville (32-2), who went on to win the NAIA national championship, prevented SAGU from the title by topping them in the semi-finals.
SAGU then entered the National Christian College Athletic Association’s (NCCAA) Central Regional. They advanced to the Nationals in Orlando.
There they went 1-3 against teams from both the NAIA and the NCAA’s Division II, including a big, five-set win over (D2) Malone University (Ohio), who had a 29-11 mark. They also met teams from Colorado, Indiana and California.
The Lady Lions will again broadcast most of their home matches on the internet this autumn. The SAGU Sports Network also airs athletic events in football, soccer and basketball.
Southwestern is the only school in the NAIA to broadcast in HD. The schedule will be announced this summer, and broadcasts available at no charge.
The Lady Lions season will begin in late August.