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SAGU wins first game, then drop three close sets

Team hosts Oklahoma City on Monday night

Box Score and Play-by-Play* (click here)

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In a dual to the end between two evenly matched teams, Southwestern Assemblies of God University ended up on the wrong end of a 3-1 volleyball match against John Brown University (Ark). The Lady Lions won the first set before falling in three straight nail-biters.

The Purple Pride won 25-19, before yielding 23-25, 18-25 and 22-25.

The four-set recap:

SAGU never trailed in the first set. They came out strong, building a 9-3 advantage on spikes by Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), McKenzie Criddle (Livingston, Tx / Lake Livingston HS) and Faith Hardin (Midlothian, Tx / Midlothian HS).

John Brown, who cut their deficit to 13-10, could not hold back the Lions.

Cox continued her hot hand with three more kills to spark a 19-12 lead. Once again the Golden Eagles wouldn't go quietly. They pulled to within 21-18.

Sodich answered by unleashing a laser. That was followed by two Eagle errors to bring up game point.

Taylor Calverley (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep), who had 46 assists, set up the game-winning tally. Her helper on a Cox kill polished off JBU in a 25-19 triumph.

The Golden Eagles tied the match in the second set. They broke a 22-22 tie with two kills and a SAGU hitting error to win 25-23.

Riding the momentum from their Game Two victory, JBU never trailed in the next game. Tied at 10, they used two kills apiece from Audrey Dearien and Libby Blasingame to seize command at 16-11. The lead swelled to 20-13 before the same two players made kills to cap a 25-18 win and a 2-1 upper hand.

In the critical fourth set, the Golden Eagles soared from a 12-2 start to build their largest lead of the match at 15-4. The Pride then mounted a remarkable comeback.

Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian), who won the last two Hitter of the Week awards in the Sooner Athletic Conference, hammered three kills as SAGU went on an 8-1 run to pull to within 22-20.

Becca Young’s service ace was sandwiched by two errors by each team in the clutch as John Brown staved off the Lady Lions' feverish rally, 25-22.

The Lady Lions were led by their junior outside hitter, Sodich. She powered a match-best 20 kills, while senior Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) racked up 18.

Emmalee Smith (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) had 17 digs while Alissa Kirk (Pataskala, Oh / Gahanna Christian) added 15.

Dearien paced the Golden Eagles with 18 kills and hit .417.

Across the statistical board the teams were virtually equal. SAGU’s hitting percentage was .180 (54 kills, 25 errors), compared to JBU’s .190 (56 and 25). Digs were even at 69.

Two areas the Golden Eagles that may have proven significant took place at the net and on the back line. JBU had a 14-10 edge in combination blocks while firing five the match’s six aces. Otherwise, very little separated the teams.

The setback dropped SAGU’s record to 10-7 overall and their SAC ledger to 3-2. They are in fourth place.

The club has passed the midway point in the season. It was the team's eighth match in twelve days in which the Lady Lions went 4-4.

SAGU has 13 remaining dates; seven of them at home, with five of them aired by SAGU Sports Live. Eleven matches are against teams from the SAC.

One night after being swept at Texas Wesleyan University, JBU rebounded from 34 kills on Friday to 56 less than a day later. The Eagles improved their mark to 8-13 and 2-2 in the Sooner.

Upcoming Schedule

The Lady Lions will be back in action on Monday night when they travel to meet Oklahoma City University (9-7, 2-2 in SAC) in a 7:00pm best-of-five match.

Next Saturday, October 5, they return home when Wayland Baptist University (16-3, 2-1 in SAC) visits the Sheaffer Center. The action begins at 11:00am (CST).

It will be a huge opportunity for the Lady Lions as they host a nationally ranked team. The NAIA’s new Top 25 Coaches Poll will be released on Tuesday.

SAGU Sports Live will bring the match to fans, live, in HD video at 10:50 with a pre-game show.

Rob Price is the host, supplying the play-by-play while former Lady Lion, Devan Guynes, is the color analyst.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 468-658-2847.

*Box Score and PBP – On the SAGU schedule, locate the game versus John Brown. Click on the blue block on the far right to open up a variety of stats as well as the play-by-play. For just the box score, click on the underlined 1-3 match score.

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