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Sodich, Calverley, Cox star in two-hour match

All six starters reach double-figures in statistics

Box Score (click here)

abbott-jj-block-2013WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  For most teams to compete against the best opponents, their top players must deliver the goods.

During Tuesday night’s five-set volleyball contest between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Wiley College, won by the latter, 3-2, a handful of players on both teams had stellar efforts.

For the Lady Lions, who won the first two games, 25-21 and 25-17, it was Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) who brought her hammer to the court. The junior outside hitter nailed 22 kills, most on powerful blows.

She had 58 attempts and finished with a .241 hitting percentage.

Supporting her with similar numbers was middle hitter, Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS). The senior was set 45 times with the end result totaling 17 kills and a .267 attack percentage.

As for the setter, it was Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep). Her helpers were detonated into points on 46 occasions, an average of just over nine per game. It was the sixth time this fall she has racked up 40 or more assists.

The trio made the All-Conference First Team a year ago in the Red River Athletic Conference.

SAGU’s offense could have used a third hitter. No one else registered more than five kills.

While the Lady Lions had a host blocks in the early goings against the Wildcats. However, they managed too few down the stretch, allowing Wiley to rally.

Both teams had the same number of swings, 183; it was the visitors whose spikes gradually spelled the difference. Wiley had 65 kills against 28 errors, compared to SAGU’s 55 and 27.

The Wildcats had three players in double-figures on the frontline; Lucy Ricord with 20 kills, Fatima (fah-TEE-mah) Dacosta with 18 and Susan Tsisiche (pronounced Tuh-SEE-chay) thumping 15. Their setter, Jessica Izquierdo (iss-SKARED-oh), was active and accurate in a 55 assist night.hardin-faith-kill

Defensively, SAGU had four reach double digits in digs. Libero Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) paced the club with 22. It was the season best for the sophomore. A year ago she had 29 in a 5-set clash with Wiley.

Senior Brittany Briggs (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), Sodich and Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) made 14, 13 and 11 scoops respectively.

Sodich and Smith each fired a pair of aces.

For Wiley, their libero, Diana Castaneda, was impressive while gathering 27 digs. Dacosta added 17. Castaneda led both teams with three aces.

Game One Highlights

Kassy Cox was on fire with the slide move, torching Wiley with four kills as SAGU established a 20-9 lead. She also teamed up with Faith Hardin (Midlothian, Tx / Midlothian HS) for a combo block.

The Wildcats rallied to within 21-20 with an 11-2 run. That’s when freshman McKenzie Criddle (Lake Livingston, Tx / Livingston HS) rose to the occasion. She whacked a Calverley set from the right side, and then joined with JJ Abbott (Kenmore, Wash / Cedar Park Christian) to reject a shot from Dacosta for a 23-20 lead.

Criddle and Jessica Sodich hooked up for a duo block for the game-winning point. The Lions frontline blocks (10 combos) helped keep Wiley’s attack in check. They hit only .023 with 11 kills and 10 errors.

sodich-dives-for-digGame Two Highlights

The Purple Pride unleashed Sodich on the Wildcats. She blazed with 8 kills in attempts, spiking the ball like she meant it.

Late in the game it was Cox with a pair of strategically placed hits, including the winner deep down the left line for a 25-17 win. Abbott contributed two kills in two tries while Calverley set ‘em up with 12 assists.

It was the Lady Lions best game of the match, firing 16 kills against only five errors for a .314 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, Wiley swatted 10 kills in 36 swings, offset by 5 miscues, for a .139 percentage. The Lions owned a 17-12 margin in digs.

Game Three Highlights

After SAGU got off to good starts in the first two sets, Wiley reversed things. They got the jump in each of the next three games, proving the early bird gets the worm.

Lucy Ricord ignited their assault with two kills from the left side, one down the middle and fourth with deftly applied tip for a 16-12 lead.

Cox and Calverley combined for a block, then on a kill, where Cox slid behind the setter for a crushing blast that glanced off an attempted double-team.

Sodich sent a laser down the right sideline and the Lions were knocking on the door, trailing by just 18-17.

The Wildcats then capitalized on a kill by Tsische, an ace from Dacosta and back-to-back errors on a SAGU player – one of them a ‘lift’ violation. Wiley seized control with four unanswered points to leadcox-kassy-roars 22-17.

Sodich ripped a shot that deflected off of Isquierdo, and then gunned an ace to draw to within 23-21. They wouldn’t score again.

Ricord, who had eight kills in the game, help Wiley clinch the game on a tip over the Lions front wall.

Game Four Highlights

Wiley jumped to a 9-4 lead before Hardin and Cox landed spikes to cut their SAGU deficit to 12-9. The Wildcats hit the accelerator in a 6-0 run and capped it with another string of points on a Dacosta kill on an assist from Izquierdo to go up 21-10.

A key player was the Cats’ Alice Marques. She came off the bench for three kills.

Dacosta answered kills by Sodich and Hardin by dispatching two bombs for a 25-14 win to level the scoreboard at two games apiece.

Game Five Highlights

In the crucial fifth game, which was played to 15, once again the Wildcats launched a quick blitz that put SAGU in a comeback mode, trailing 6-2.

Cox muscled one between Tsische and Dacosta, Criddle tapped the ball in the crease, and Wiley made a hitting error. Kirk fired a bullet from the back line and Sodich unloaded on the left side for a 7-6 SAGU lead. It would be their last.

A determined Wildcats team regained the lead on attacks by Dacosta and Izquierdo to push the guests into the lead of 9-7. Sodich hit a pair of winners and the Lady Lions trailed 10-9.

It was the power game of Ricord and Dacosta that proved too much. The visitors avoided being caught with two strikes from Ricord and another by Dacosta to polish off a 15-10 triumph.

It was the eighth time in their 14 meetings these teams needed a fifth game to determine a winner. In last month's first meeting, Wiley swept SAGU in Marshall, Texas, 3-0.

Schedule calls for matches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday

SAGU has three more matches this week; the last two inside the friendly confines of the Sheaffer Center.

Thursday:   @ #10 ranked Oklahoma Baptist (12-4), 7:00pm. Video and LiveStats available.

Friday:   Home vs University of St. Thomas (4-11), 7:00pm. LiveStats.

Saturday:   Home vs John Brown (7-12), 1:00pm. SAGU Sports Live in HD and LiveStats.

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

Photo Gallery: To view and/or purchase from a large selection of photographs (including the four above) of the SAGU-Wiley match, visit Steve Patterson's Moving Pictures website at:

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