Friendly Rivals Collide
Interview with SAGU’s Moore, MACU’s Ruiz
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Following Monday’s surprising 3-0 sweep of Mid-America Christian University, Head Coach Hansford “Hank” Moore was deservedly proud of his Lady Lions volleyball team.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (10-10) had just seized their ninth win in their last eleven matches, taking MACU (15-8) with scores of 25-13, 25-21 and 25-16.
“We are playing some great volleyball right now,” Coach Moore said afterwards. “Everyone is doing their job and really stepping up,” he said in an understatement.
“Getting back to .500 is nice as well. At this point in the season to be playing at this level is very exciting, he added.
The Ohio native spoke of the team’s scriptural directive from Colossians 3:23, where the combined efforts of players doing their part can accomplish much.
Team Purple’s trio at the vanguard, the ‘Big Three’ of senior Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS), and juniors Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) along with the setting game of Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep), is fueling the attack.
“Kassy played very well tonight. She had 15 kills on 25 swings,” he pointed out. “She has now hit .500 or above in our last two matches. And tonight she dominated the match.”
“Caitlyn Hudson played an excellent match. She hit over .400,” he continued. “When both of our outsides (Outside Hitters – Hudson, Sodich) play at the level they are playing we are a pretty good team.”
“Taylor Calverley had 31 assist tonight during a match that we did not have that many opportunities.”
“We now have a chance to do some really exciting things,” Moore added. SAGU has 12 remaining matches, 10 of them at home.
As for Mid-America, a friendly foe from the Sooner Athletic Conference that SAGU will join next year; “MACU was 15-7 coming into the match tonight. They have been playing some great volleyball as well.”
“They had a couple of injuries that kept two of their defensive players (from playing) and that was the difference in the match.”
“We out hit them tonight, we had more digs and blocks. Our kids served very strong tonight and they (MACU) had a difficult time passing the ball.”
“We have some great kids that are playing hard... Col. 3:23!”
Mid-America Christian's Craig Ruiz
As for Craig Ruiz, the Lady Evangels’ second year head coach and the school’s interim Athletic Director, he was vexed.
He wanted to explain his team’s lethargic play following a weekend of matches and travel while still allowing for the outstanding play of the Lady Lions. Both were understandable to those who viewed their play.
“That was the worst we’ve played in a while,” Ruiz admitted. “We came in flat and never got it going.”
“There are reasons for that, but I’m taking nothing away from the way Southwestern played tonight.”
“They served us tough. We could never get into our system and whenever we started to; we’d miss a serve or make some errors in the attack. It was one of our higher numbers in terms of hitting and service errors.”
“At one point between the first and second games, we were within 36-30 in points, but couldn’t sustain things.”
“Having their middle (Cox) back in the line-up made a difference for them,” he said. “And their setter, Calverley, she stayed within their offense and passed very well.”
“Hopefully,” Ruiz surmised, “we can show better the next time we play one another.”
The coach recognized the play of SAGU on this night was undeniable, as was his team’s weary ways.
“Hank’s teams are always prepared and they make you play well to have a chance to beat them.”