V-Ball schedule has 31 matches
Lady Lions have 11 home dates
Key veterans return, joined by new recruits
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team, with a string of winning seasons numbering seven, have released their 2012 schedule.
Veteran Head Coach Hansford “Hank” Moore enters his 12th year at the helm, the last seven producing winning records during the regular season. The Lady Lions have also qualified for the Red River Athletic Conference tournament eight consecutive times.
The team has also enjoyed plenty of success in the post-season in the 106-member National Christian College Athletic Association’s regional and national championships.
SAGU advanced to the Nationals in Orlando again in 2011, where they went 1-3. Their win, however, came against NCAA Division II member Malone University (Oh), who were 29-10 at the time.
SAGU, 23-18 last fall, will enter two early tournaments; in Oklahoma and Arkansas, as part of a 31-match itinerary that covers four months.
The Purple Pride has 11 home dates, 11 out of town matches, and nine during the two tourneys. All college matches consist of a best of five games, the first four played to 25. If needed, a fifth game will be played to 15. (entire schedule is posted at end of article)
The Lady Lions’ first 15 competitions are on the road, a time when bonding and the development of their most effective line-up is forged.
The home stretch of their schedule has SAGU playing 10-of-13 inside the friendly confines of the Sheaffer Center. Great fan support helps energize this winning program.
About the list of opponents, Coach Moore said, “We will have a very strong schedule again this season. Plus, we’re playing in two very tough tournaments.”
“We are playing in the Oklahoma City University Tournament,” he continued, “where we’ll be playing some top notch programs; College of the Ozarks, MidAmerica Nazarene, Oklahoma City University and Tabor College."
"All of them will present good challenges for us.”
Facing established teams from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and III, according to Moore “…will give us very good evaluation time and opportunities to look at ourselves matching up against quality squads.”
In the John Brown University Tournament, the Lady Lions will play five matches in two days; Evangel University, John Brown, Friends University, Peru State University and Southwestern Christian University.
“Both of these tournaments,” the Ohio native summarized, “will be used assessing and tuning- up for the (RRAC) season.”
SAGU will also add two new conference teams to the mix in Langston University and Jarvis Christian College. Both are fielding teams this autumn.
“This will give us two more conference matches,” according to Coach Moore. “Both of these schools will bring good competition to our conference.”
The RRAC boasts of the defending national champion in UT-Brownsville and nationally ranked Wiley College.
SAGU, who finished fourth in 2011, has finished second, third and fourth in the previous four seasons.
Sixteen of the team's 31 opponents had a losing record a year ago. Seven, however, posted record with 20 or more victories.
“We will also be playing the University of Texas at Permian Basin,” Moore said of a match the Lions will play on their return trip from playing the day before in New Mexico.
“They are a NCAA Division II program who will be very strong as well. Adding them to our schedule will give us a very strong conference and nonconference schedule.”
Senior to lead Returning Veterans
Southwestern will be replacing three key players; Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS), Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS) and Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Gateway Christian).
All were critical to the team’s long-standing strength: defense. Cisneros finished third in the league in blocks and was named an NCCAA All-American, while Espinoza (#2 in the photo to the left) scooped up more digs than any player in the RRAC.
The Lady Lions return four of their top five attackers, each racking up 200-300+ kills. Sophomore Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian), junior Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), senior Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) and junior Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels Academy) will supply power and experience on the frontlines.
Sodich (SO-ditch) drilled 378 kills, third best in the Red River.
Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep), the junior who averaged 9.2 sets per game, returns to feed the offensive.
The defensive specialists who dig-up enemy spikes, include Hudson, who was second to Espinoza in digs, Calverley and Sodich as well as juniors Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) and Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, OH / Gahanna Christian).
Trio of New Recruits
Coach Moore will mesh new recruits into the team when camp opens in August.
“We have graduated three very strong players. I don’t know that you recruit kids to replace the likes of those three,” he said on Friday.
“What we are trying to do is bring in players that will help fill roles on our team. Some of the girls that are returning will compete with our new kids for these open positions.”
“We have added three very good athletes who are even better kids,” he quipped. “We have added J.J. Abbott (Kenmore, Wash / Cedar Park Christian), a 5’11 middle hitter. She’ll be competing for court time up front.”
“Caitlin Paschall (Midlothian, Tx / Midlothian HS) is a 5’11 setter and right-side hitter. We believe she will add much needed depth to both of those spots, maybe as a defensive specialist too,” he pointed out.
“Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) was a high school setter who will come in and compete right away for the libero position,” Moore added.
“Emmalee can play any of the three back row positions. All three of these girls will make our squad better and help us make a step to the next level.”
Coaching Staff Update
Returning alongside Coach Moore will be Jordan Briggs, his lone Assistant Coach. Meredith (Wendel) Russell, who had been on the staff for two years, has accepted a Graduate Assistant position at the University of Arkansas-Monticello (NCAA Div. II). “She will be greatly missed,” he said.
Statistician and bus driver Kyle Nielsen returns and will be joined by newcomer Anna Moormeier who will serve as an administrative assistant.
“Anna will help in the area of stats and other administrative responsibilities. She will add a new dimension to our program,” Moore stated. “We are very excited she has joined our program.”
HD Broadcasts of SAGU Volleyball
The Lady Lions will again have select home matches broadcast in high definition on the SAGU Sports Network by SAGUtv.
Southwestern is the only NAIA school in the nation to produce games on the internet in such quality. Six of the team's nine matches were broadcast in 2011. The HD livestream schedule will be announced later in the summer.
SAGU 2012 Volleyball Schedule Preview
|Date||Opponent (State)||2001 Record||Playing Site|
|8/23||Mid-America Christian University||7-27||Oklahoma City, OK|
|8/24-25||Oklahoma City University Tournament||Oklahoma City, OK|
|8/24||College of the Ozarks (MO)||29-8|
|Mid-America Nazarene Univ (KS)||30-9|
|8/25||Oklahoma City University||12-25|
|Tabor College (KS)||20-11|
|8/28||Texas Wesleyan University||15-17||Ft. Worth, TX|
|9/8||Southern Nazarene University (OK)||29-7||Bethany, OK|
|9/14-15||John Brown University Tournament||Siloam Springs, AR|
|Evangel University (MO)||29-6|
|John Brown University (AR)||18-16|
|Friends University (KS)||26-11|
|Peru State University (NE)||11-18|
|Southwestern Christian University (OK)||12-18|
|9/21||Southwestern Christian University (OK)||12-18||Bethany, OK|
|9/21||Langston University (OK)||DNP||Langston, OK|
|9/22||Bacone College (OK)||8-20||Muskogee, OK|
|9/25||Texas Wesleyan University||15-17||SAGU|
|9/28||University of the Southwest (NM)||4-23||Hobbs, NM|
|9/29||UT-Permian Basin||19-16||Odessa, TX|
|10/8||Mid-America Christian University (OK)||7-27||SAGU|
|10/9||University of Dallas||18-21||Dallas, TX|
|10/12||Huston-Tillotson University (TX)||2-30||SAGU|
|10/13||University of St Thomas (TX)||19-17||SAGU|
|10/13||Oklahoma City University||12-25||SAGU|
|10/16||John Brown University (AR)||18-16||SAGU|
|10/20||Our Lady of the Lake University||9-18||San Antonio, TX|
|10/23||Southwestern Christian University||12-18||SAGU|
|10/25||Southern Nazarene University (OK)||29-7||SAGU|
|11/2||Wiley College (TX)||19-8||SAGU|
|11/3||Jarvis Christian College (TX)||DNP||SAGU|
|11/15-17||NCCAA Regional Tournament||TBA|
Game Times are listed at www.sagu.edu/athletics/volleyball/schedule
RRAC – Red River Athletic Conference
For more information, visit www.redriverconference.com
DNP – Did Not Play or field a team in 2011.
Total: 31 Matches – 11 home, 11 away, 9 at tournaments.