Netters edged twice in tourney
Espinoza, Hudson shine in Sherman
Lady Lions play twice more today
SHERMAN, Texas -- The early season tournament minefield continued for the Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team. On Friday night they lost a pair of matches at the 16th Annual Austin College Classic in Sherman, some sixty miles north of Dallas.
The Lady Lions were swept by the University of Texas at Tyler, 3-0, with all three games going to the wire. The Patriots won 25-21, 25-22 and 25-23. Facing the host, Austin College, SAGU led 2-1 before falling in the last two sets; 25-22, 16-25, 27-25, 20-25 and 15-6 in the decisive fifth.
In both matches the Lions battled tooth-and-nail, with each teams’ hitting percentages proving it.
Against UTT, the Lady Lions hit .167 to the Pats .168. In the nightcap, the Purple Pride swung .144 from the frontline, compared to the Kangaroos’ .151.
When competition is that close, the razor-thin difference may have been from a distance. SAGU’s service game struggled, as it has in earlier defeats. On Friday they delivered four aces versus UT-Tyler (5-2 record) while making eight service errors. Facing the Roos (6-2 record), Southwestern had four aces and eleven errors from the back line.
Still, Head Coach Hank Moore was able to play 11 members of his team in the opener and a dozen during the AC match. The youth movement is making its mark and the early signs are encouraging.
Versus the Patriots
SAGU, now 4-6 this season, had an outstanding effort from senior libero Laura Espinoza (Duncanville, Tx / Duncanville HS). She made 16 digs against the Patriots and followed it up with 35 in the five-set clash with the Marsupials.
Against UT-Tyler, Jessica Sodich (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian) led with 11 kills, while Krystal Cisneros (El Paso, Tx / Del Valle HS) and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) each added nine. Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) was highly effective, registering 36 assists, a 12.0 helpers per game.
Caitlyn Hudson (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) countered an off night in hitting by making eight digs and by stroking two of the team’s four aces.
Versus the 'Roos
In the prime-time shootout with Austin College, Hudson rose to the occasion. The junior smashed 16 kills, tying the best effort of the season for the Lady Lions. She added 20 digs and hit two of the squad’s four aces.
The Lady Cats had two players split time as the setter; Carleigh Dollar (Brock, Tx / Brock HS) and Calverley. Dollar cashed in 26 assists, while ‘Taylor made’ 20. Cox, Sodich and Cisneros contributed 13, 12 and eight kills, respectively.
On the defensive end, after Espinoza and Hudson’s 35 and 20 digs, Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) had a career-high total of 18. Devan Guynes (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) racked up 14 digs and matched Hudson in aces with a pair.
Southwestern has two more matches today, giving them four this weekend against NCAA Division III foes. They take on Howard Payne University at 11am, and then meet Hardin-Simmons University in a 3pm matinee.
SAGU continues their season-opening 15 road games next weekend, September 16-17, by facing John Brown University (4-4) in Arkansas and Oklahoma Wesleyan University (6-2) in Bartlesville.