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Duo rack up career bests with super Saturday

SAGU splits at tourney, 2-2, find their groove

SHERMAN, Texas  --  After opening the Austin College Classic with two setbacks on Friday, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team came roaring back with a pair of big victories on Saturday.

The Lady Lions, after an 0-3 start, are 2-3 heading into another tourney next weekend.

Coach Hank Moore’s team turned in their best performance of the young season on Saturday morning. They met the hosts, Austin College, at 9am.

They rolled to a 3-1 triumph (25-22, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-12) over the Roos, a perennial winner who went 24-14 last year. It was their first time to tame AC since 2009.

At the point of attack was senior setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep). She distributed the ball to the tune of a career best 54 assists. It enabled the frontline to hit .318 as three players reached double figures in kills.

Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) must’ve had her Cheerios. The junior, who led the Red River Athletic Conference in kills per game in 2012, was at it again.

Like Taylor, Sodich had a career high with 24 kills. Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) added 17 and Faith Hardin (Midlothian, Tx / Midlothian HS) another 11, season bests for both.

Also clicking on all cylinders was senior defensive specialist Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS). She silenced many a Roos rally as she turned in twenty digs. It too was the highest total she has had at SAGU. Her three serving aces were a big lift.

Combined with sophomore libero Emmalee Smith’s (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) 17 helped the Lady Lions hold the Roos to .128 hitting.

Team Purple played their fourth match hours later with an easy 3-0 sweep of Sul Ross State University. The Lady Lions won the three games 25-14, 25-12 and 25-12 over the Lobos, outhitting them .322 to .022.

Calverley piled up 35 assists and Sodich hit .407 and thumped 14 kills. Briggs paced the team with 16 digs and Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) fired four aces.

On Friday afternoon the Lady Lions began the two-day event by facing Southwestern University (Georgetown, Tx). The Pirates, now 7-1, topped SAGU by a 3-0 count, just as they did to their three othervb-jessica-sodich-2013 opponents.

The Lady Lions’ attack struggled to hit .092 and fell 25-22, 25-18 and 25-11.

Georgetown dominated the net and had 13 assisted blocks. SAGU had no player reach double-digits in kills but had four with 11 or more digs.

Calverley managed to get 29 assists and Smith contributed 18 scoops on defense.

The Purple Pride came up short against the University of Dallas, 3-1; 16-25, 23-25, 25-14, 23-25. Two of the Crusaders wins were by two points.

The teams hit for almost identical attacking percentages; SAGU .132, U-of-D .131.

Otherwise SAGU dominated the stats; 53-38 in kills, 174-153 in attempted kills, 92-82 in digs. The Lions hindered themselves with seven serving miscues and also had 30 hitting errors compared to just 18 for the Crusaders.

Sodich and Cox powered 18 and 15 kills, respectively, though each was tagged with seven errors. Sodich had a career high with 47 attempts, which she would top the next day against Southwestern (48).

Freshman McKenzie Criddle (Lake Livingston, Tx / Livingston HS) had a solid effort with 10 kills in only 20 tries.

Calverley bagged 41 assists while five players had 12 or more digs. Sodich was a human spatula with another career effort, totaling 26 digs. Smith added 19 digs and three aces.

SAGU travels to Salina, Kansas on Sept. 13-14 for the Kansas Wesleyan Classic. A preview of the event will be posted on Thursday.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.