Volleyball goes 1-3 in Ozarks tourney
SAGU home debut on Tuesday night
Line-up clearer as RRAC season begins
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A line from a 1977 hit song, “What a long, strange trip it's been,” may sum up the Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team’s eleven road games to open the season.
Normally rolling as they approach the Red River Athletic Conference season, the Lady Lions are 2-9 after a 1-3 tournament weekend in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
On Friday the team dropped a pair of 3-1 decisions to Evangel University (Mo) and to the hosts of the John Brown University Invitational. On Saturday they rallied to nip Peru State University (Neb), three-games-to-two, and were narrowly swept by Friends University (Ks), 3-0.
While their play was erratic at times, they hit less than .165 twice, Team Lioness narrowly missed a 3-1 mark in the Ozarks. The squad went 5-11 in individual games. However, five of those setbacks were by the two-point minimum. The team also won four by the same margin.
“I’m so proud of these kids,” said Head Coach Hansford Moore on Saturday night. “They fought hard all weekend. Our chemistry has been excellent.”
“Again, I could not be more proud of my kids. There are two things we all can control, our attitude and our effort. These young ladies have been incredible in both of these areas.”
“We also had multiple honor calls (where a player tells the officials the call should go against them instead of the other team) this weekend. Officials were shocked when our kids call their own touches. It cost us points, but we showed integrity and true sportsmanship. That is what this is all about!!! Honoring God with our play! What a great weekend!”
The Lady Lions big hitters did what they do best, as did the team’s setter and libero.
Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) played particularly well, racking up 71 kills, an average of 4.38 per set. The sophomore now leads the entire RRAC.
Coach Moore was quick to praise Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) and Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep). “All four had outstanding weekends,” he said.
Calverley averaged 11.4 assists per game, a figure that would lead the league if it were for the season. Sodich is third in total kills and Hudson is at #8
The team’s three freshmen; JJ Abbott (Kenmore, Wash / Cedar Park Christian), Caitlin Paschall (Waxahachee, Tx / Midlothian HS) and Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), all played and made obvious contributions. Smith moved into the team’s libero (leh-BAIR-oh) role during the match against JBU on Friday. The trio earned a starting assignment during the tourney.
Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) and Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) “did an outstanding job” according to Coach Moore. The duo spelled Sodich and Hudson as defensive specialists. “Plus,” said Moore, “it gave each of them a much needed rest-time off the floor.”
First home match on Tuesday
The Lady Lions will now begin the conference season. They annually are one of the top teams in the RRAC. The top six teams enter the Red River tournament in November, where SAGU has received mail as a regular.
Southwestern plays their first home match on Tuesday night when Jarvis Christian College comes to town for a 7:00pm best-of-five clash. Fans of the volleyball team provide large, supportive crowds and colorful costuming to match.
(A detailed report from the tourney will follow)
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