SAGU signs Lady Hawk flyer
Emmalee Smith inks V-Ball letter
Lady Lions recruiting class now at three
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team has announced the signing of a local prep standout, Emmalee Smith, of Red Oak High School.
Smith won Setter of the Year in the nine-team, District 15 in Class 4A. She topped her team with 776 assists and led all district setters on defense with 141 digs.
“Emmalee has been a great player for Red Oak,” said SAGU Head Coach Hansford “Hank” Moore. “I have watched her play for many years. I also had the honor of coaching her in club ball for the Ellis County Juniors.”
"She is going to be a great player for us," Moore continued.
Smith also received high praise from her veteran, prep Head Coach, Hope Porter.
“Emmalee is one of the most determined, hardworking athletes I have ever worked with,” she said yesterday. “Emmalee will be a great addition to the SAGU program. She is dedicated and has the drive of any top-notch athlete.”
Donning the maroon in her four years at Red Oak, the last two as their setter, Smith and the Lady Hawks had a combined won-lost record of 66-17. This season, with a very challenging schedule, they were 29-10.
In league play, however, they went 15-1 to tie Waxahachie H.S. (42-5, 15-1).Both teams advanced to the Regionals
After a 10-7 start they ran off 12 straight wins, including a 3-2 win at Waxahachie, who were 31-3 at the time. Both teams advanced to the Regionals before losing. During her sophomore campaign they went 40-4.
Smith, at 5-foot-6, has an approach touch of 8’11. In other words, like a spawning salmon at a waterfall, she has “ups.”
Coach Porter, who began coaching her as a fourth grader on a Mid-Cities club team, has long been a believer in her upside.
“She fell in love with volleyball back then,” she pointed out. “Her passion for the sport has only grown through the years.”
“Then to top off all of her athletic abilities, Emmalee is an outstanding, trustworthy and intelligent young lady. You are getting a great kid!”
An element of her game that could prove immediate dividends may come from beyond the court. Smith’s service game for the Hawks was "outstanding," quipped Porter.
From behind the backline she racked up 373 points while powering 65 aces. Smith made only 5 errors.
Bidding for Libero position
The right-handed sparkplug is expected to compete for the Lady Lions’ libero/defensive specialist position as a freshman.
That role was anchored by Laura Espinosa (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS) and Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Gateway Christian).
Under Coach Moore, the libero (lib-AIR-oh) has played a key role for an NAIA team that has strung together eight straight winning regular seasons.
The position on the back row has accurate passing of the ball as its main responsibility. The libero needs to dig well, saving every ball with a play that enables the offense to keep running. Chasing down balls with playable digs to the setter describe the functioning libero.
While having no responsibilities in the attack, the position must also be adept at setting the ball if the ball is dug by the setter or out of the setter’s range. Smith will have weapons at her disposal.
Driving points home
The Purple Pride has four returning frontline hammers that need only a sweetly hung set to nail a riveting kill.
Outside hitter Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) will lead the foursome with Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian), Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) and Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels Academy).
Sophomore-to-be Sodich (SO-ditch) paced the team in kills with 378 (2.6 per game), with junior Cox racking up 307 (2.3).
Laney, also a junior, had 211 (1.6). Three-year starter, Hudson, the lone senior on the squad, pounded 290 (2.0).
Sodich had 15 matches in which she registered double-digits in kills, while Cox and Hudson were credited with 14 and 13 respectively.
Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS), the First Team All-Conference performer who graduated this spring, had 13 double-figure matches.
Smith joins Caitlin Paschall (Waxahachie, Tx / Midlothian HS) and JJ Abbott (Kenmore, Wash / Cedar Park Christian) in the 2012 recruiting class.
Her parents are Mark and Cynthia Smith of Red Oak. She has two sisters, Kaitlyn and Elizabeth (Smith) Barnhart.
About SAGU Volleyball
Southwestern is a dual Division I member in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) (300 members) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) (106 member schools) while competing in the Red River Athletic Conference.
The RRAC has 15 members, including the defending national champions (UT-Brownsville), from four states; Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana.
The SAGU Sports Network broadcasts their home matches on-line and are the only NAIA school to do so in authentic HD. Their 2012 season begins in mid-August.