VBall team pleads the fifth
SAGU takes two matches in five games
Winning streak extended to eight straight
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University completed a 5-0 week with a pair of five-set barnburners on Homecoming Saturday.
They have now won 13 of their past 15 in moving into contention in the Red River Athletic Conference. It’s the best run of success since the 2009 team got off to an 18-2 start.
SAGU outdueled the University of St. Thomas on Saturday morning, three games to two. They won games one and four against the Celts, both with 25-17 scores. UST won the middle sets, 25-15 and 25-18. SAGU won the decisive fifth, rallying from 8-4 and 11-8 deficits to win, 15-13.
It was Southwestern’s second win over the Lady Celts (pronounced Kelts) in eight days.
Facing a young Oklahoma City University team on Saturday night, Head Coach Hank Moore’s Colossians Crew went the distance again in a 3-2 victory for the hosts.
The Lady Lions took the first two games, 29-27 and 25-21, before losing the momentum in 25-17 and 25-20 shortfalls. They recoiled and led from the start of the fifth to claim a 15-12 win.
The match with UST ended with Southwestern claiming the match-winning point with a combination block by Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS).
In the nightcap, Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) surged with four huge kills to extend a 6-4 lead to 13-7.
Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) fired an ace, Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) sent a deep ball to the corner for a point, and both freshmen JJ Abbott (Kenmore, Wash / Cedar Pak Christian) and Caitlin Paschall (Waxahachie, Tx / Midlothian HS) produced kills.
The OCU Stars then 'came out at night,' rallying to within 14-12.
The final play of the match began on an Oklahoma City tally, serving to SAGU libero Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS). She passed to Calverley on the right.
The junior setter then lifted a high helper backwards, behind her to a sliding Cox. Perfectly set, Cox angled a sharp crosscourt kill, effectively fading-to-black the Stars' comeback effort.
Southwestern is now 14-10 overall and are tied for third with Texas Wesleyan University (16-10) with 5-1 marks in the Red River Athletic Conference.
St. Thomas slid to 14-10 and 5-2, knotted with Our Lady of the Lake University (10-13, 5-2).
The top two clubs in the RRAC, for the third year in a row, are UT-Brownsville (18-0, 7-0 in RRAC) and Wiley College (18-7, 6-1). UTB, the defending national champions, are ranked #1 in the nation.
Oklahoma City, who defeated SAGU in August, 3-1, dropped to 13-17. They are 3-3 in Sooner Athletic Conference. The win broke the Stars’ 6-0 mastery over the Lady Lions, sweeping the first five meetings.
The pair of white-knuckle conquests were strong statements for a team with only one senior (Hudson). The Lady Lions have seven matches remaining, the final five at home.
Three of the next five are litmus tests against UTB, Our Lady and Wiley.
In the St. Thomas match, the Lions were led by Sodich. She had 20 kills, 15 digs while hitting .220.
Hudson and Cox each had 14 kills. Hudson had the highest hitting percentage of the trio with a .238 effort.
Calverley racked up 41 assists in the five sets.
Supporting Sodich in digs was Smith with 15, Hudson and Briggs with 13 apiece, and Calverley 10.
SAGU outhit St. Thomas in the match, .196 to .182.
Against Oklahoma City, the Big Three were nearly equal. Sodich had 21 kills, Cox had 18 and Hudson nailed 16. Factoring in hitting errors, Sodich hit .212, Hudson .208 and Cox .200.
Paschall powered three kills against a lone error.
Calverley bagged 48 helpers, while Sodich and Briggs accounted for 18 and 16 digs, respectively. Southwestern held a 66-58 margin in digs.
SAGU was outhit by the Stars, .246 to .200, out-blocked 22 to 13 and outscored 110-106. They made up the difference with nine service aces; Briggs, Hudson, Abbott and Sodich all roasting a pair of hot potatoes and in defensive digs.
A clear factor was experience, where the Lady Lions were steady in the clutch. Six of the Stars’ eight rotation regulars were freshmen.
The Lady Lions proved that savvy under pressure rises like cream to the top.
The Big Three all delivered the goods during a week in which SAGU went 15-5 in games and won five matches. Sodich had the most attempts and kills, Hudson the least hitting errors, and Cox, thanks to matches on Monday and Tuesday, had the better hitting percentage.
Calverley averaged 10.4 assists during the 20 games by distributing the ball to her trio of sledgehammers who pooled their skills to hit .264.
The team is on the road this week, playing at UT-Brownsville on Friday night, before challenging OLLU on Saturday evening.
Saturday Stat Leaders
Digs: Sodich 33 (3.3 per game), Briggs 29, Smith 25, Hudson 20.
Sets: Calverley 89 (8.9 per game).
Attacks: Sodich 102 (10.2 per game), Hudson 90, Cox 84.
Kills: Sodich 40 (4.0 per game), Cox 32, Hudson 30.
Errors: Hudson 10 (1.0 per game), Cox 16, Sodich 18.
Hitting Pct.: Hudson .222, Sodich .215, Cox .190.
Aces: Briggs 3, Sodich 3, Abbott 2, Hudson 2.
*Blocks: Cox 11 (six vs. OCU), Calverley 7, Paschall 4, Abbott 3.
*Combines solo and assisted/combo blocks.