Lions roar past Eagles in 3-0 sweep
Hudson, Sodich, Cox combined for 33 kills
SAGU now on 14-4 run; hosts SNU Thursday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University had a collective hot hand tonight and routed a young Southwestern Christian University team in college volleyball.
The Lady Lions, now 15-12, took the best-of-five match in three games; 25-9, 25-7 and 25-10. They combined to hit .379 as a team, whacking 44 kills out of 87 swings, while making just eleven errors.
SCU, with thirteen freshmen, was held to a minus .075.
Taking advantage of a green team from Oklahoma, the Lady Lions, who have just three freshmen, received solid play from their main arsenal on the firing line and a surprise starter.
Outside Hitter Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) dominated early and often, finishing with 14 kills and seven digs while making only two errors. The senior had the team’s lone solo block.
Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) got off to a slow start before unleashing some thunderous smashes. She accounted for 12 kills and six digs.
The third member of the troika, Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), had a quiet but highly efficient match with seven kills in only 11 swings! She mixed in tips, a quick hit, and a few hammers to go with three assisted blocks.
Junior setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) lifted more arms than the military.
In recording 37 assists in the three games, her sets enabled those arms to detonate almost 15 blasts per game. She added seven digs.
Getting her first career start was Hannah Lewis (Broken Arrow, Ok / Broken Arrow HS). Taking full advantage of the opportunity, she smashed six of twelve attacks for points to hit .417. All were career highs.
“I loved every minute of it,” she said afterwards. “J.J. (Abbott) was hurt, so I got the call. It made my heart race with excitement.”
“Getting on the court with my teammates, the friends I practice with, was great,” she added. “Getting sets and making some kills made it all the more enjoyable.”
If it was possible, it appeared her teammates rejoiced in her big plays more than she did.
On the defensive end, always a SAGU strength, the Lady Lions owned a large, 50-28 edge in digs. Freshman libero Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) bagged 15 as all ten healthy players had at least one or more.
Smith has steadily improved, increasing her digs per game total to 2.9. It was her fourth best match of the fall and 17th occasion to reach double-figures.
She was not credited with an assist, however, which ended a string of 16 straight matches with at least one.
SAGU served up 10 aces, with four players each firing a pair; Sodich, Hudson, Calverley and Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS).
The Eagles, 2-24, were led by Courtney Clark’s five kills and two from native Texan (Rowlett) Tori Wallar. They shared their attack with five players reaching double-digits in attempted hits. Jessie Crenshaw managed six assists.
The Big Three and Taylor crushed the Black Birds from the outset. In fact, SAGU never trailed.
The Lions jumped to a 10-1 lead behind four Hudson kills and a solo block. Sodich lasered back-to-back aces to extend the margin to 17-5.
Hudson went through a double-team block from the left side, then Cox delivered a blast from the middle before teaming up with Calverley for a block and a 22-9 lead.
Team Lioness won, 25-9.
Three hustle plays by Lewis in one long volley was finally finished by a Hudson bomb and a 3-0 jump-start. A quick set to Cox was battered for a point, and then she combined with Sodich for a block as SAGU vaulted on top, 7-2.
Two Hudson aces and everything was turning purple at 12-2.
The Lions added big hits from Sodich, Caitlin Paschall (Waxahachie, Tx / Midlothian HS) from the middle and a mortar down the right line by Lewis turned the game into a 25-7 win.
Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) launched an ace for another fast beginning in the third, 6-1.
Lewis sent a shot through an ill-fated combo block on the right-side for a 12-4 advantage. She pounded a kill deep to center that deflected off a player at the net to go up 18-4.
Calverley flipped a backward set perfectly and Lewis cashed it in from the right. The match point was scored when Sodich bounded high on the left corner, booming a screamer down the line to close-out the Eagles, 25-10.
Lions win for 14th time in 18 matches
SAGU won their eighth sweep since the squad turned their season around following a 1-8 start. The Lady Lions, an impressive 14-4 since then, have strung together a 44-22 mark in games in the process.
Team Purple has four remaining matches, all at home. Just one more win insures the team with their eighth consecutive winning record in the regular season.
Storm brewing Thursday night
SAGU will play host to Southern Nazarene University on Thursday night at 7:00pm. The match will be broadcast in HD on SAGU TV.
The Crimson Storm, 8-18, are in their inaugural campaign in the NCAA's Division II. They are on an eight-match losing skid, including two straight five-game setbacks.
Their Head Coach, Kevin Ingram, has seven 20-win seasons in his first 111 years in Bethany, Oklahoma.
In their final season in the NAIA, 2011, they won a school record 29 times in 36 matches.
The pre-game show comes on-line at 6:50pm, while LiveStats, a digital play-by-play version, begins at first serve.
Rob Price and Tim Roberts will supply the play-by-play and color analyst roles while Bianca Alarcon handles courtside interviews.
Kyle Nielsen provides the LiveStats webcast, which simultaneously offers viewers up-to-the-minute team and player statistics throughout the match.