Big Volleyball Homestand During Fall Break
Lady Lions Play 3 Matches at Home in 24 Hours
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- While many students will take advantage of a long, 4-day weekend to take a break from the rigors of studies, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's volleyball team will dig in their heals for a 3-match, weekend homestand.
For locals and those hunkering down on campus, the Lady Lion netters will be the "only game in town." What a great opportunity to venture into the Sheaffer Full Life Center for great seats to see SAGU in action for a trifecta of bumps, sets and kills. Plus, student Public Address Announcer Cameron Ward (Arlington, Tx / Grace Prep) will provide the sound and color to the games.
October 8: SAGU vs Wiley College, 7pm
On Friday night, the competition will bring in the perennial powers from East Texas, Wiley College. The school highlighted in the award winning movie, "The Great Debaters," will bring another talented team to Waxahachie. The Wildcats have six international players from Colombia, Puerto Rico and Kenya, and their roster has a half dozen who are six-foot taller or taller. Both of their coaches are from Kenya, and this year's squad has been coming on of late.
Wiley, from Marshall, Texas, are 10-6 overall and have a 3-2 won-lost record in the Red River Athletic Conference. In individual games, they have won 33 times out of 55. Conversely, SAGU is 9-10 in all matches and 2-3 in the RRAC. Team Lioness is 38-35 in games. In college volleyball, teams play a best-of-five games (or sets), which, together are called a match.
Believe These Two Have Met
Last year the Wildcats (21-5 record) beat SAGU (28-12) three times; 3-1 in Waxahachie, 3-2 in Marshall, and 3-1 in Fort Worth during the RRAC tournament semi-finals.
In 2008, the two had some epic battles, with Wiley edging the Lady Lions for the league title. The teams split during the regular campaign, with SAGU giving WC their only season loss in league play in a thrilling 5-set match. In the RRAC tournament, the Lions led 2-1 when the Lions' Brittani Toole (Whitehouse, Tx / Whitehouse HS) went down with a knee injury and the squad went down in five, 3-2.
Suffice it to say, the two teams are quite familiar with one another. The games will surely be hard-fought with the players leaving it all on the court. Both teams have great mutual respect as well as display good sportsmanship in their matches. Wiley and Southwestern are similar in that each are related felines who sport the same major color, purple.
About the Wiley Wildcats
Wiley began the year by participating in two top-notch tournaments, including the Quality Inn Classic, hosted by Missouri's Columbia College. The Wildcats went 1-3 and saw two teams in the NAIA's Top Ten. Wiley hopes the lessons they learned there and in the Oklahoma City University Classic will help them achieve their goal of making it to the conference finals for a third straight season.
They possess three of the best players in the conference in 6-foot senior Right Side Hitter, Jessica Lopez (Puerto Rico), 6'1 Middle Blocker Darly Castillo and 5-foot-8 Setter, Eileen Burbano. The latter two are juniors from the South American nation of Colombia. Lopez is averaging 2.9 kills per game while her hitting percentage is .301. She is even credited with 3.2 digs per game. Castillo is at 2.6 in kills and attacks at a robust .315.
Burbano has racked up over 500 assists for a 9.0 per game clip. Her figure ranks her #48 in the nation.
A player who has begun to come into her own is Abigael Misoy, a sophomore from Kenya. After a timid rookie year, "...she has blossomed into a dominant force," according to one insider in the Wiley athletic department. "Wait till you see how hard she hits the ball," he said.
This year the Wildcats have a newcomer who is turning heads in Ingrid Diaz, a 6'0" freshman Outside Hitter, also from Colombia. She's said to have as much potential as anyone on the squad. "She just needs consistency and the same drive from game to game," the source pointed out.
Friday's match begins at 7:00pm, though the doors will open about 90-minutes early.
Only One Team has Five Consecutive Years of 20+ Wins
The Lady Lions are the only team in the RRAC with five straight seasons with over twenty wins. Having graduated a pair of All-American players in the spring, they are reloading by meshing six freshmen. around the core of the team, which centers on Toole. The 5-foot-11 Middle Hitter led the league with 4.0 kills per game while stroking a .351 swing. She earned Hitter of the Year and First Team All-RRAC along with All-American status.
Libero Jordan Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), a senior, is a multi-talented embodiment of epoxy. She salvages 3.6 rallies per game by making digs. Tina Brown (Seguin, Tx / Lifegate Christian), plays at Outside Hitter, and is a highly competitive mirror of Briggs, mixing her defensive skills with an attacking mindset. Toole, Briggs and Brown are tri-captains.
A few others have stepped in and stepped up. Freshman Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) is a 5'10 Setter who has the same average as Burbano, at 9.0 helpers per set. Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) and Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS), both juniors, have elevated their games considerably for Head Coach Hansford Moore, now in his 10th year at SAGU.
Cisneros, at 5-foot-11, is averaging 2.1 kills per game and leads the team with 61 blocks. Espinoza won a starting position this offseason by adding a more effective jump serve, and excels in digs (3.0 per game) especially her handling of blistering serves and attacks.
A 6'1 freshman, Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), is emerging as a force to be reckoned with. She registers 2.1 kills per game and is third on the team in blocks, behind Cisneros and Toole, despite missing 16 games due to injury.
At Your Service
SAGU has four players with over twenty service aces. Briggs is tops with 28, followed by Espinoza, Brown and Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS), each with 21. Calverley has 16.
As always, Moore-coached teams play exemplary defense. Their 16.6 digs per set are second only to the nation's #5 ranked University of Texas at Brownsville (16-0 record), who make 16.9. In short, SAGU brings a lunch pail, hard hat, gloves and work hard till the whistle blows.
Saturday will see two more matches, both featuring teams will less star-power than Wiley.
Saturday Matches at 11am and 4pm
Dallas Christian College, based in Richardson, visit for an 11:00am match. The Crusaders are rebuilding under first year coach Miranda Orr. SAGU swept them earlier this season.
At 4:00pm is another RRAC match as Texas College visits the FLC. The Lady Lions topped them 3-0 in a tournament in Tyler over Labor Day weekend.
While They Last: Programs and Media Guides
A limited number of color and black and white Game Day programs will be available ($1 color, 50 cents for B&W) and the new Media Guide for SAGU volleyball will also be sold for $3 apiece.
Make plans to attend any or all of the three matches. Ticket prices for adults and students are minimal, with children under six admitted free. SAGU staff and students' entry is complimentary when they show their university ID card.