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SAGU is 6-3 heading into home opener Tuesday

Calverley, Sodich, Cox experience personal milestones

SALINA, Kansas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University volleyball team completed a sweep of four matches at the 10-team LaQuinta – Kansas Wesleyan University Invitational over the weekend.

The Lady Lions winning streak reached six straight since their season-opening 0-3 start. In the process they displayed dominating play and one thrilling comeback.

On Saturday they rolled past York College (2-10), 3-0; 25-18, 25-19, 25-8 and then defeated a good McPherson College (9-5) squad, 3-1; 25-21, 17-25, 25-15, 25-21.

The day before the Purple Pride began the tourney by taking three in a row from St. Mary (5-8) 25-15, 25-16, 25-22. Then came an epic, five-set thriller over College of the Ozarks (9-7); 17-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-11.

Rallying from an 0-2 deficit with three consecutive wins to edge the Ozarks was a signature statement in the team’s pre-conference season.

The Lady Lions, now 6-3, make their home debut on Tuesday night against Mid-America Christian University, 2-7. It is also the first-ever for SAGU in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

A huge crowd is expected in the Sheaffer Center for the 7:00pm clash of league foes.

Added to that atmosphere is SAGU Sports Live’s HD broadcast of the best-of-five match. Host Rob Price will bring the play-by-play.

One constant throughout the Lady Lions 4-0 run through central Kansas was the performance of senior setter Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) and the power of junior hitter Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian).

Calverley racked up 33, 46, 20 and 44 assists, totaling 143 in 15 sets. Her 9.5 average didn’t prevent her from maintaining her conference lead. Her 10.1 figure is still tops the Sooner.

Over the weekend she became SAGU all-time leader in assists, passing Rachel Brown.

Evidence of her effectiveness in distributing the ball to teammates on the frontline can be seen in the SAC leader board. The Lady Lions have three players in the Top Ten in hitting percentage.

The tandem of Sodich and senior Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) both eclipsed one thousand career kills while in Kansas.

Sodich was on her game, with 60 kills, an average of 4.0 per set. Her best came during the College of the Ozarks (Mo) affair when she had 22 while hitting .321.

During Head Coach Hank Moore’s tenure his teams have been known for their defense, particularly the rally saving digs of the back line.

The most memorable play during the tourney was a dig that proved pivotal in the come-from-behind win over the Ozarks Bobcats. This one, however, came from an unlikely player.

Trailing two games to none, a volley initiated by the maroon-clad Lady Bobcats was floor bound after deflecting off the SAGU frontline. Cox, the 6-foot-1 middle hitter, gave chase as the ball was heading out of bounds. She dove and managed to keep it in play.

The Pride won the point and the effort sparked a surge in momentum as SAGU avoided being swept, 25-17. They had their best hitting percentage of the match in that game (.294), and made only two errors.

Cox hit .385 in the match, whacking 19 kills. Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) led the defense with 19 digs, while Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) added 17.

To view the statistics of each match, copy the following into your web browser.

Coach Moore Summarizes Tourney

“Right now we are playing some great defense,” Coach Moore pointed out. “Plus, we had 20 blocks in our last match. Our back row has always been strength, but they are playing extremely well.”

“MACU will be a big match for us. It’s our home opener and first league match. Our last match with them was a loss in the Central Region Tournament,” he explained.

“We really need to reestablish in that rivalry. We need to pack out the Full Life Center on Tuesday night.”

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

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