V-Ballers win 3 in Rocket Town
Lady Lions upset Friends during Houston tourney
HOUSTON, Texas -- After opening the season by dropping three-of-four matches in a tournament in Oklahoma, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team showed their true mettle over the weekend in Houston.
Led by Assistant Coaches Meredith Russell and Jordan Briggs, the Lady Lions bounced back by taking three out of four in an event hosted by the University of St. Thomas.
Southwestern topped the Montana Tech Orediggers, 3-2 (20-25, 28-26, 21-25, 28-26, 15-9), before being swept by the Argos of the University of Great Falls (Mont), 3-0 (14-25, 19-25, 9-25).
The Purple Pride regrouped and claimed all three games from Schreiner University's (Tex) Mountaineers, 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-16). Then they made a big statement by thumping the Falcons of Friends University by a 3-1 count (25-15, 21-25, 25-17, 25-23). Friends, of Lawrence, Kansas, was ranked nationally in the pre-season after going 32-9 last year.
The team was led by Russell and Briggs while veteran head coach Hansford Moore remained in Waxahachie over the weekend. Moore is the dean of SAGU coaches in terms of tenure at the school. He has a career mark of 208-158 in ten years at SAGU.
Now 4-4 overall, Team Purp has its third, early season test next weekend at the Austin College Classic, September 9-10, in Sherman, Texas, 85 miles north of Waxahachie. There, the team will face four squads who are members of the NCAA Division III.
The Lady Lions improved their service game over the weekend, racking up 31 aces in 15 games. They made only 17 serving errors. A week ago they had just 14 aces against 27 miscues. An improved defense held three opponents to hitting percentages of .134, .039 and .184. Compare a team’s hitting to a baseball team’s batting average for comparison sake. Now you get the picture! Impressive!
Only Great Falls, who have begun the season with a 13-2 mark, attacked with success at .329.
“Overall,” said Coach Russell, “our team was united and played with so much heart and intensity. The Friends match was huge for our program. They have built a very solid program. I could not be more proud of our kids.”
In defeating three quality teams, the Lady Lions had several members play consistently. Senior Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) were especially productive in each match. Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS), Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) and Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) were impressive salvaging digs.
Devan Guynes (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and Espinoza had the hot hands serving. Sophomore setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) set the table for SAGU’s five primary heavy-hitters.
Top 5 Lion "killers"
Cisneros is a six-foot senior who speaks softly but carries a big club! In Houston she crushed 40 kills in 101 attempts.
Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian), a 5-9 freshman, was set-up the most, totaling 108 swings at the net. She finished with 33 kills. Sophomore Amanda Laney (New Braunfels, Tx / New Braunfels Christian) was third in spikes with 30 (89 tries).
Cox, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, hammered 26 kills in just 53 strokes, and did so despite sitting out the first match. Hudson, a junior who has a complete floor game, started slow at the net before finishing red hot with 25 kills (103 attacks).
Developing consistency among the group will be one of the determining factors in the team’s bid for a successful season. Each of the five had a match in which they hit less than .200, and each had at least one headline-worthy effort.
Laney smashed a team-best 16 kills versus Montana Tech. Cisneros hit .433 when she spanked 14 against Friends, then added 15 in the MT match. Sodich had two double-digit efforts with 13 and 10 against MT and Friends.
Hudson, who also made 35 digs, pounded 10 kills and hit a robust .409 in the finale. In the three-game sweep of Schreiner, Cox needed only 16 swings to deliver 11 kills, a sizzling .563 match.
In digs, Espinoza had 65, diving more often than a World Cup soccer player! Brown dug-up 38, Hudson and Calverley had 35 apiece. The latter registered 134 assists in 15 games.
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