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Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) volleyball Hank Moore

“This is one of the strongest groups we have had in the past ten years,” believes Moore, “This will be a very good group to watch play. Anyone who has followed us in the past will see a noticeable increase in the level of talent and playing style.”

One familiar face you will see form the 2015 squad is sophomore Kali Shaw .  Shaw, who was named Sooner Athletic Conference freshman of the year, will return as the team’s leading hitter.  In 2015 she averaged three kills per set and will be expected to bring more dominance in her sophomore season.

Junior Madison McClure will see time as a front row setter and right side hitter this season. Sophomore Faith Pittman will be returning as a starting middle hitter and junior Summer Skillern will return in the lineup as an outside hitter.  Skillern had nearly 250 kills for the season in 2015 and she believes better things are to come for this year’s squad, “I’m very excited to see where this team goes.  We have so many talented girls and I see so much potential in us.”

Ex-libero Emmalee Smith graduated and is now a student-assistant coach for the volleyball team.  Smith holds SAGU’s record for all-time career digs.  Her departure has left a huge hole in the roster but a familiar face will be taking her spot.  Waxahachie-native Celi Bruce will be replacing Smith as libero.

“Our greatest strength will be our depth. We are literally four deep at every position. Last year we were only two deep at most spots on the floor,” says Moore.

SAGU’s depth will come from so many of the new faces. Paulyae Dawkins is a 5’11 junior-transfer from University of the Southwest .  Last season, Dawkins was a 1 st Team All-Conference pick in the Red River Athletic Conference .  She led the RRAC in hitting percentage and was third in kills.

Coach Moore also says that five freshman will see immediate playing time for the Lady Lions. Bojana Vukadinovic is a 5’10 outside hitter, Sophia Ivy is a 5’10 setter, 5’10 outside hitter Haley Bowers and defensive specialist’s Jenna Schutt and Brittany Stallaby will all be young players worth watching.

The Lions will not only be replacing the libero position, but also the setter position after the graduation of Caitlin Paschall .  According to Moore, this will lead to a completely different look on the court, “The biggest change we will be making is incorporating a back row attack on offense. We will also be playing two setters instead of just one.”

In 2015, the Lady Lions ended the season 18-16.  They ended fifth in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC).  The preseason coaches’ poll placed SAGU in fifth place once again.

The Lady Lions will kick-off their season officially on Friday, August 17, 2016 when they host the Sooner Athletic Conference / Red River Athletic Conference Crossover Tournament.  SAGU will play Langston University at 2pm and University of St. Thomas-Houston at 6pm.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

Contact: Natalie Tristan, SAGU SID, [email protected]

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