Crimson Storm rains on Lady Lions, 3-0
Sodich hits 21 of her 51 kills during Regionals
McMurry beats SNU to win tourney; SAGU finishes 16-18
BETHANY, Oklahoma -- A season that included career record-setting performances and some impressive wins came to an end on Saturday morning in the NCCAA Central Regional.
Top seeded Southern Nazarene University (26-9) swept Southwestern Assemblies of God University, 3-0, to advance to the regional finals.
The Crimson Storm took the three games with scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-23. It was their third win over SAGU this fall, each in straight sets.
SAGU’s season ends with a 16-18 won-lost record.
“Our kids fought so hard,” said Hank Moore, who concluded his 13th year as Head Coach. “I'm very proud of all our kids. We had six seniors who left their mark on our program.”
In a match-up of NCAA D2 teams, McMurry University (Tex) upset SNU, 3-2, in the final.
The No. 4 seeded WarHawks (17-16) will compete at the NCCAA Nationals, Dec. 3-7, in Orlando.
The Purple Pride opened the regional on Friday morning with an upset of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (22-11), 3-0; (25-16, 25-13, 25-23).
McMurry (15-16 record at the time) was the Lady Lions next opponent in pool play. The Warhawks defeated SAGU in three; (25-16, 27-25, and 31-29).
Southern Nazarene doubled the Lady Lions in hitting, .252 to .114. They swatted 46 kills and made 14 errors to SAGU’s 36 and 21.
Junior Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) racked up 15 kills to lead both teams. SNU’s front line made her work for every one of them as she was set up 58 times.
Faith Hardin (Midlothian, Tx / Midlothian HS) had the best attacking percentage at .280. She thumped nine kills in 25 swings.
Middle Hitter Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) capped her fourth season with eight kills in a .261 effort.
Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) ended an illustrious career with 31 assists.
Sophomore libero Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) led three Lions in double figures in digs with 14. Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) and Sodich added 11 and 10 respectively.
The Lady Lions fought well but couldn’t sustain scoring surges against SNU. They held leads of 7-4 and 11-8 before the Storm went on a 6-0 run for a 14-11 lead in Game One.
SAGU reduced the deficit to 16-15 before the hosts pulled away to win 25-19.
The Storm never trailed in Game Two, pushing a 10-8 lead to 18-12. Making just nine kills prevented the Lions from threatening in a 25-17 setback.
The Purple & Gold had their best game in the third, hitting .179 on the strength of 16 kills.
Refusing to give in during Game Three, SAGU battled their way from a 9-4 hole to within 15-14. Sodich fired five kills during the 10-6 run.
Southern Naz used four spikes for points to gain a 20-16 advantage.
Two kills apiece from Sodich and Hardin helped SAGU rally to within 24-22.
A kill by Kira Roberts, her twelfth, won it for the Storm.
SAGU Summaries from Central Regional
In SAGU’s 3-0 triumph over Oklahoma Wesleyan, the squad hit .274. They totaled 42 kills and committed only eleven miscues.
Sodich and Cox teamed up for one of their best showings all year. Sodich hit. .467 with 15 kills. Cox blasted 11 and hit .500. Each made only one mistake.
Taylor bagged 36 helpers while Smith and Kirk contributed 14 and 10 digs.
Smith and designated server Beka Dollar (Weatherford, Tx / Brock HS) gunned a pair of aces apiece.
The difference in McMurry’s 3-0 win over the Lady Lions may have been their stronger, more balanced frontline. Two of their three wins were by two points.
The Hawks had a .214 to .127 advantage in hitting accuracy. It broke down to a 49-39 margin in kills.
In the first two games McMurry had a 35-26 lead in kills, though mistakes were few by both teams.
In an exciting third, the Hawks eked out a 31-29 victory.
After combining for just 10 errors in the first two games, SAGU misfired 12 times in the third.
Sodich had a great showing! She registered 21 kills as well as 21 digs in just three games.
Calverley had 34 assists while Smith totaled 17 digs and served up a pair of aces.
"Our kids played hard in all three sets," Coach Moore said on Friday night. "We're just not quite strong enough to beat a good NCAA D2 team."
"Jessica Sodich played lights out as did Taylor Calverley," he added. "Taylor led a good offensive attack and she played some of her best defense of the season."
"Bottom line, they were better than us tonight."
McMurry defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan, 3-0; 25-14, 25-18, 25-12
Southern Nazarene defeats SAGU, 3-0; 25-17, 25-19, 25-23
McMurry defeats Southern Nazarene, 3-2; 25-23, 17-25, 25-21, 22-25, 16-14
Records After Central Regional: McMurry 17-16, SNU 25-10, SAGU 16-18, OKWU 22-13.