Planet Volleywood, tonight at SAGU
Previewing the players to watch
Two rivals who make their own lightning
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Tonight’s volleyball clash of Red River Athletic Conference titans figures to be another battle of cohesive squads of talented queens of the court.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (6-9 overall, 2-0 in RRAC) and Texas Wesleyan University (12-7, 1-0) will bump, set and spike in the Sheaffer Center at 7:00pm.
The action will be aired on SAGU TV, the nation’s only high definition livestream in the NAIA.
The comparisons reveal a pair of evenly-matched teams.
The visiting Rams’ hitting percentage - the number of attacks that produce points, is third best in the RRAC at .193. SAGU is fourth at .189, and rising.
When it comes to serving aces, they both average 1.6 aces per individual set (five sets/games comprise a match), which is tied for fourth in the league.
As for kills per set, SAGU holds a narrow 12.3 to 12.2 edge. Their total is third among the 10 teams.
Setting up teammates for kills is the name of the game. Again, each squad excels in the vital area of assists per set: TWU is third at 11.1, SAGU fourth at 10.9.
Salvaging would-be points by the opposition, going low and digging up the ball before it makes contact with the court, are specialties of both teams. The Wesleyan Women are second in the Red River with 16.9 digs per game; the Lady Lions are fourth at 16.0.
The teams play in the same conference as the defending national champions, the University of Texas at Brownsville (12-0), who are currently ranked #1. Life can be very tough in the RRAC. Wiley College (13-5), also a member in the league, is ranked as well.
Players to Watch
Among the top hitters in the RRAC, Texas Wesleyan’s Katie Rosenbusch is second, swinging at a .300 attacking percentage. Lynsay Buell is sixth at .236.
SAGU’s co-leaders are senior Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) and sophomore Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) at .210 apiece. That ranks them at #9. Sodich, with a jet-pack in her calves, leads the entire RRAC in kills per set.
Hudson has raised her hitting percentage by 70 points since last year. Already in the school's Top 5 career leaders in kills, she is enjoying a career year in kills and aces per set.
The Lady Rams have two other players in the Top 15; Alex Hendee at .206 and Meghan Finley at .204. Southwestern’s Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), who has missed action due to an injury, is 15th at .197.
Tops in kills per set is Sodich, with 4.0 per. Hudson, an outside hitter, is #6 in the Red River at 3.3.
Rosenbusch, a 5'11 middle blocker, totes a 3.2 average that is seventh best. Cox comes in at #9 at 3.1. The Rams place two others in the Top 15 with Hendee (2.8) at #10 and Buell (2.4) at #15.
The primary setters for the two clubs are among the RRAC’s best; Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) averages 9.8 assists per game, while the Rams’ Angelica Arroyo is at 8.9. TWU often utilizes Stephanie Dominguez as a setter.
Fans of blistering 'hot potatoes' can order up their favorite toppings in advance. There are five of the conference’s best going at it from the back line this evening.
Hudson is #4 in the RRAC where her 22 aces and 0.4 per set average are slightly ahead of the Rams’ Hendee. She has fired 24 and also averages 0.4.
Lauren Hutchinson has 23 aces and an 0.3 per set average for the guests.
Junior Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) and frosh Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) each have 17 service aces and an 0.3 avg.
Defensive specialists with a knack for saving near-points from the enemy are a pleasure for many fans to watch. Their ability to take the sting out of hot serves and hammered spikes is frighteningly fun to behold!
The Rams pair in Dominguez and Hutchinson, rank #5 and #7 in the RRAC, making 3.8 and 3.5 digs per set.
SAGU’s squad has their own corps who are handy with pot-holders; Sodich leads with a 3.4 average, which ranks #8.
Smith makes 2.9, Briggs 2.8 and Hudson at 2.2 are the Purple Pride’s answer to the Lady Ewes’ best defensive players, statistically.
What do you say we buckle up and go for a ride!?
A review, complete with statistics and action photos, will be posted on-line tonight.
All statistics in this article are taken directly from the RRAC website at: www.redriverconference.com