Volleyball Tournament Preview
Lady Lions Play in Sherman, Texas, Sept. 10-11
SHERMAN, Texas -- Southwestern will be one of 10 colleges participating in this weekend's 15th Annual Austin College Classic in Sherman, Texas. Matches will be played on two courts in the Hughey and Sid Richardson gymnasiums. (Directions at end of article)
Head Coach Ed Garza's Austin College team is the host. Garza has had the 'Roos regularly ranked nationally as one of the top NCAA Division III teams. SAGU, 28-12 a year ago, defeated them in 2009 in a five-set marathon. It is his fifteenth season on the sideline at AC.
The Lady Lions will tangle with two teams on Friday, starting with McMurry University at 2:00pm. They'll go up against Hardin Simmons University in the evening at 6pm. The following day, Team Lioness meets the University of Texas at Tyler at 4 o'clock. SAGU clashes with Austin College for their fourth match in 28 hours at 6pm.
TOURNEY TEAM NOTES
McMurry University (0-3). Abilene, Texas. Mascot: None
Key Player: #24 Terah Brown, Sr. Middle Blocker.
Brown, at 6'1, was set to become the school's all-time, career leader in blocked shots when she registered her first rejection this season. McM has a 2-9 record in individual sets so far this young season. They have three main attackers in #18 Bennie Smith (2.9 kills per set), #23 Bailey Marcum (2.6) and #11 M.J. Vickers (2.5). They are 5'8, 5'10 and 5'10. #17 Jasmine Qualls is their ace setter, with 9.1 assists per game. She's a 5'7 freshman. McM went 18-12 last year.
Why no team mascot?
McMurry is perhaps the only college in the country that plays intercollegiate athletics without team name or a mascot. A court order forced them to drop their previous moniker, the Indians, in 2006. The school then chose to forgo selecting another name. Rather, their fans cheer: "Go team, go!"
"Going to a mascot that has four legs and fur just didn't fit who we are," McMurry President John Russell told The Associated Press four years ago. "To take another mascot would be to turn our back on our 83-year history. We know who we are."
The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, which has strongly encouraged its schools that use such nicknames to change them. But Russell said McMurry's nickname was a symbol of deep respect for the American Indian culture.
The college's first president, James Winford Hunt, chose Indians as McMurry's nickname out of respect for the Kaw Indians, among whom he lived in his youth.
Russell said McMurry will continue its non-sports activities honoring American Indian culture, which permeates the campus. Tipi Village, with its authentic structures, attracts hundreds of local students each year.
McMurry's final appeal to keep the mascot was denied in August of 2006, a year after the NCAA issued a policy sanctioning schools using Indian mascots.
After meeting for several months, a McMurry committee (which included students and fans) studying its options presented its findings at the trustees' meeting Friday, and the board voted to go without a mascot. Russell said the school will revisit the issue if students bring it up in the future.
McMurry was one of 19 schools affected by the NCAA's decision to ban Indian mascots during postseason tournaments and to prohibit the institution from hosting NCAA-sponsored postseason games.
Hardin-Simmons University (1-2). Abilene, Texas. Mascot: Cowgirls
Key Player: #7 Christine Sas, Freshman Outside Hitter
Sas and #13 Madison Reyes both average 3.6 kills per set, with Sas hitting .293 as a 5'8 stinger at the net. The Purple and Gold use two setters interchangeably in #11 Erin Davis and #3 Kaitlin Mitchell, averaging 5.4 and 3.9 assists per game. Hardin Simmons has a 7-6 mark in their sets, having lost two 5-set matches.
The Cowgirls were 22-7 in 2009, winning the American Southwest Conference West Division with 16-2 mark, edging McMurry (12-6).
University of Texas at Tyler (2-2). Mascot: Patriots
Key Player: #2 Danika Waldrep, Junior Outside Hitter
The Patriots are 6-8 in the individual sets they have played this young campaign. One of their best all-around performers is Danika Waldrep, a 5'8 junior attacker. Along with #7 Kelsey Winn (5'8 Senior), Waldrep is tied atop the squad's kills per set list with an even 2.0 per. Freshman setter #5 Ashten Waldrep leads the Pats in assists at 5.2 per game, though #6 Whitney Clements adds 2.9.
Haven't had a winning record since 2004 when they topped .500 with a 17-15 mark. The UTT Patriots finished in 5th of six teams in the same ASC league that McMurry and Hardin-Simmons are in, though the Pats are in the East Division, which was won by the Univ. of Texas at Dallas (25-1, 17-0).
Austin College (5-0). Sherman, Texas. Mascot: Kangaroos.
Key Player: #3 Jessi Fleming, 6'2 Junior Middle
Jessi Fleming led the nation in rejections last year with 226 (64 solo blocks). She averaged 3.4 kills per game as she accounted for 456 spikes in 133 games. But it was her .402 success rate while attacking that drew so much attention. #5 Jenna Wilson, a 5-foot-10 senior, added 290 kills. The court quarterback is #1 Jordan Anderton, a 5'9 senior setter, who was credited for making 10.2 sets per game.
Already 5-0 this new season, the 'Roos are 15-2 in the sets they have played.
Directions to Austin College
Fans making the trip will discover Sherman is 87 miles north of Waxahachie, a straight shot on Highway 75. Exit onto 91 / Texoma Parkway and then turn right on N. Grand Avenue. (Turning left, N. Grand is named W. Taylor)
The campus is located at 900 N. Grand Avenue. Sherman is just 12 miles south of the Red River which separates Texas and Oklahoma.