VBall: Lady Lions top MACU, 3-1
Taylor-made win in OKC
Lady Lions play in OCU tourney Fri/Sat
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- The vanguard did as advertised and Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s volleyball team rolled to a 3-1 win over Mid-America Christian University on Thursday night at the Gaulke Center in the season opener for both teams.
SAGU won all but the second game, taking the first by a 25-20 score before suffering a 25-22 setback. The Purple Pride regrouped to take the third, 25-21, then clinched it, 25-15, in the decisive fourth.
“We played okay,” said Head Coach Hank Moore. First game jitters were apparent as the Lions lacked a cohesive passing attack.
“We struggled in the passing area,” he said, “but we did play some very good defense,” the trademark of his teams.
The three-pronged attack, as expected, packed a punch for Team Purp. Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) was hot early and coasted to a match-high 14 kills. Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) and Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) powered 13 and 10 respectively.
Setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) triggered the heavy hitters with 31 assists.
Hudson made a lone error and was tops in hitting, swinging a .375 arm. MACU held Cox to .158 and Sodich to .135.
Jessie Giese (Tulsa, Ok / Union HS) and Caitlin Paschall (Waxahachie, Tx / Midlothian HS) both ripped three kills, with the latter accomplishing hers in only five hits.
Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) was tops in getting down! She was credited with a match-best 17 digs. Sodich scooped up 14, while Calverley had 10, Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) nine and Hudson saved seven.
MACU held a slight advantage over SAGU in hitting, .224 to the Lady Lions’ .192, but a huge 67 to 35 dominance in defensive digs likely spelled the difference.
At the net, the teams were equal with 45 kills apiece, though the Evangels posed a more effected wall. They had one solo block and 14 assisted blocks compared to Southwestern’s two and four.
Nerves were more visible from the back line, where the two teams combined for 25 service errors, 14 by the hosts. SAGU held an edge in aces, 8-2. The Pride outscored the Evangels 97-81, where their serving miscues proved costly.
The Lady Lions trio of attackers who reached double figures in kills was nothing new for them.
Last season Sodich did it 15 times, Cox 14 and Hudson 13. Their match highs: Sodich 22, Hudson 16 and 13 on multiple occasions by Cox.
As for Taylor, she had 30 or more assists in 25 of her 41 matches, eclipsing 50 thrice.
Briggs almost tied her career best in digs. She was credited with 18 last year against Austin College. She accumulated double-digits three times in 2011.
Game One: SAGU 25-20
The Lions grabbed a quick 4-0 lead on a pair of Cox blasts and an ace from Paschall. The Evangels rallied to tie the score at 7, where the clubs exchanged points until it was 17-17.
Sodich and Hudson each made two kills to push SAGU ahead, 21-18. Hudson sandwiched another Paschall blast with a pair of spikes for a 24-19 lead.
MACU and SAGU hit .276 and .273 in the first set. Cox paced the ‘Cats with five kills.
Game Two: MACU 25-22
In the best exhibition of force by Mid-America, they outhit SAGU .321 to .030, as the Lions 10 kills were offset by nine errors.
Southwestern vaulted in front again, 7-1, as Cox crushed a pair of Taylor-made sets. Sodich and Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) delivered scoring blasts to maintain a 15-10 lead.
Following a Hudson spike (18-14), Mid-America stormed for seven unanswered points on three kills and four errors by Team Purple. An ace from Briggs and a Sodich kill knotted the score at 22. The Evangels finished on an 11-4 run with a Jordan Batley smash.
Game Three: SAGU 25-21
Two aces by Paschall ignited a short-lived 3-0 lead. The hosts capitalize on their win in the second set to grab a 12-7 advantage. A Sodich laser lit the fuse on a 9-4 surge that witnessed an ace from Briggs and kills from Giese and Hudson to level the score at 16.
The Lady Lions went for the jugular, forcing seven mistakes down the stretch.
Sodich stung MACU with an ace and a Cox-to-Hudson helper was driven through the hosts’ frontline for a 24-21 advantage.
The two teams struggled on the attack, with MACU had a .128 to .123 edge in team hitting accuracy. The Lions, made only four faults.
Game Four: SAGU 25-15
Going for the kill, SAGU took a 4-3 lead and never relinquished it! Sodich energized the squad with consecutive bombs, which were followed by a Paschall powerball and three from Hudson – all on Calverley sets. Sodich and Cox answered as the lead with detonations and the margin swelled to 18-10.
Giese launched a kill; Paschall matched it, and then fired an ace. Sensing the five o’clock whistle, Cox punched in with two kills to call it a win.
SAGU had their best hitting game at .355; 14 kills against just three errors. MACU hit .207.
The Lady Evangels showed an improved look tonight under second year Head Coach Craig Ruiz. MACU had a balanced attack with six players getting between 12 and 34 attacks at the net.
Sophomore Jordan Batley, an outside hitter, had a solid effort. She made nine kills against just two errors to hit .333, coupled with 20 assists. The 5’9 Batley also contributed seven digs to go along with two assisted blocks. Rene Crockett led the home team with 11 kills. She added seven digs.
Lady Lions in weekend tourney
The Lady Lions will play in the six-team Oklahoma City University Tournament, with two matches on both Friday and Saturday at the Abe Lemons Arena. (see previous articles for details and directions)
SAGU will tangle with the hosts, the OCU Stars, at 3:00pm on Friday, then meet MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan) at 5:00pm (both available in pay-per-view livestream). OKC went 12-25 last year while the MNU Pioneers had a 30-9 ledger.
Saturday, the Lady Lions will face two more stout challenges.
They meet Lubbock Christian University at 1:00, then clash with Tabor College (Kan) at 3pm. The LCU Chaparrals posted a 24-8 mark in 2011 while the TC Bluejays racked up a 20-11 record.
Fans can follow an on-line webcast of LiveStats. The free service will provide play-by-play accounts as well as the score in real-time.
Live stats will still be found on the OCU Stretch Internet portal at the link below.
The tournament web page with schedule and links to video:
A charge of $7.95 per match can be secured on-line, though the fee does not include commentary. It is video by itself.