Lady Lions in VB Tourney in Cowtown
Event pits the RRAC's Top 6 teams
SAGU set for 1:30pm and 7pm slots on Friday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- In a city known for being a historical post along the famed Chisholm Trail, where cattle was herded on its way to market, comes the 2012 Red River Athletic Conference volleyball tournament.
Teams have come to do the business of bumping, setting and killing, with only the best headed to higher markets.
The top six teams in the league, including Southwestern Assemblies of God University, will play in a single elimination event on Friday and Saturday, November 9-10.
Each match is a best-of-five games played to 25. If a fifth game is required, it will be played to 15.
The Sid Richardson Center, on the Fort Worth campus of Texas Wesleyan University, will house the volleyball stockyards, where judges and linesmen help determine who moves on.
It is a 45-minute drive from the SAGU campus. (Directions posted below)
#1 seeded University of Texas at Brownsville (24-1), the defending national champions, are currently ranked #2 in the nation. They are the clear favorites. UTB has won the Red River title in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Wiley College won it in 2008, edging SAGU in the finals.
They will face Friday’s 11:00am winner between #5 Wesleyan (18-14) and #4 Our Lady of the Lake University (14-17) in a 4:30pm semi-final that afternoon.
The Lady Saints swept the Wesleyan Women during the regular season, 3-0, with close scores of 25-19, 27-25 and 32-30.
Should OLLU advance, they would face the UTB Scorpions, who took both the Saints and the TWU Rams in straight sets.
UTB easily topped Our Lady, 25-24, 25-11 and 26-24 and the Lady Ewes; 25-18, 25-11 and 25-14.
In fact, the Stingers swept all 33 games from Red River foes, allowing 20 or more points just twice; in the third set to the Saints, after having a 2-0 lead, and 25-23 to Wiley College in the second game.
Preview of SAGU vs St. Thomas
Wiley (22-7), the #2 seed, awaits Friday’s 1:30pm victor between #6 SAGU (17-14) and #3 University of St. Thomas (17-15). That semi-final clash is slated for 7:00pm that evening.
SAGU has already defeated St. Thomas twice, both going the distance. Each came during a Lady Lions 8-game winning streak.
The first was a non-conference meeting in Houston, 18-25, 25-21, 25-14, 17-25 and 15-10. Point total: Lady Lions 100, Celts 95.
The second came a week later in Waxahachie; 17-25, 25-15, 25-18, 17-25 and 15-13. Point total: Lady Lions 99, Celts 96.
Southwestern has won the past four encounters with UST, having defeated them twice, both in four games, a year ago, and are 9-2 dating back to through the 2008 season. Six times the winner required all five games, four of them won by SAGU.
Both teams have three primary attackers and employ a 5-1 scheme, meaning one setter.
In the two meetings this season the Lady Lions’ Big Three hit double-figures in kills in each match, led by Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS). She has 35 kills, 11 errors and a .338 hitting percentage.
Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) has 34 spikes for points, 17 miscues and has hit .163, while Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) had 21 kills, 5 errors and hit .230.
Sodich has accounted for 27 double-figure outings this season in kills. Hudson and Cox have 22 and 20 matches in double-digits, a tribute to their prowess and the play of the junior setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep).
Against the Red and Black Attack, she has racked up 85 assists in the 10 games, an 8.5 average.
The Lady Celts' (pronounced Kelts) trio has a 96-90 edge in kills over SAGU’s threesome, though the Lady Lions have made less hitting errors (40-33).
Stephanie Biediger leads UST with 44 kills in the two matches, with Kirsten Kubicek and Kylah Dias swatting 29 and 23.
Their hitting percentages in the two meetings vary; Biediger .337, Dias .226 and Kubicek .125.
Setter Brittany Weiler has accounted for 98 assists, an average of 9.8 per individual game.
Provided Team Purple can eliminate St. Thomas, they would meet Wiley in the semi-finals that evening.
The Wildcats, also clad in purple, recently overcame an 0-2 deficit to rally for a 3-2 win over SAGU in Waxahachie.
If the Lady Lions’ effort was a harbinger of their play this weekend, they stand a good chance to qualify for a berth in Saturday’s 1:00pm final.
Wiley has won the three meetings since SAGU defeated them in the Sheaffer Center last season, 3-2.
Going back through the 2008 season, the Wildcats own an 8-2 lead in the series, 28-14 in games. All have been well-contested and highly-charged.
Five times the match went 5 games, with Wiley taking three of them.
Head Coach Hansford Moore has his team playing their best volleyball heading into post-season play.
A trademark of his team is outstanding defense on the back line. An undying spirit energizes their desire to salvage rallies with digs with an effort best described as going "all out."
After a 1-8 start the Purple Pride is 16-6, a .727 winning percentage.
A complete review of their performance at the conference tournament will be posted here this weekend.
Central Regional tourney at SAGU next week
The following week the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Regional Tournament will be hosted by SAGU. It will be a three-day setting, Nov. 15-17.
Four or five teams will play a round-robin format on Thursday and Friday, with the top teams playing in the finals on Saturday.
The winner will advance to the NCCAA Nationals in Kissimmee, Florida during November 29 through December 1.
DIRECTONS: Take hwy 287 northwest towards Fort Worth. Exit right onto Rosedale, then left (north) onto Collard.
The Sid Richardson Center will be on the left. Parking is located across the street.