The winningest team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University during the past 12 years has released its 2013 schedule.
Volleyball head coach Hansford “Hank” Moore enters his 13th campaign riding eight straight winning regular seasons and has enjoyed success in 11 of those 12 seasons.
The Lady Lions have qualified for a berth in the Red River Athletic Conference tournament in nine consecutive years.
SAGU lost to St. Thomas in the opening round of the tournament last year. They rebounded to compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association’s (NCCAA) Central Regional, which SAGU hosted.
The Lady Lions went 1-2 at the event, falling to McMurry University (NCAA D2), who went on to win the region.
As new members in the Sooner Athletic Conference, SAGU looks to continue their winning ways. They return a veteran team, with three All-Conference first-teamers and all five of their award winners from 2012.
The Purple Pride finished 18-17, tying for fifth in the RRAC. It was a year that saw a resilient squad overcome a 1-8 start with a furious 12-1 recovery to finish above .500.
Moore’s team, led by senior setter Taylor Calverley, junior outside hitter Jessica Sodich and senior middle hitter Kassy Cox, will face 17 teams this autumn that produced winning seasons a year ago.
Sodich was the MVP, leading the team in kills as well as digs. Her 4.2 kills per game ranked No. 9 in the nation.
Calverley was named the Setter of the Year in the RRAC. At 10.2 assists per game, she ranked No. 23 in the NAIA.
The club opens play Aug. 26, in Marshall against Wiley College. The Wildcats have won the last three meetings with SAGU.
The teams have gone the distance, five games, in five of their last 10 clashes.
What follows are back-to-back tournaments, in which they play four matches in 24 hours at both events. In Sherman, they participate in an annual venue at Austin College, a perennial NCAA Division 3 power.
A week later in Salina, Kans., the Lady Lions are entered at Kansas Wesleyan University’s tourney.
The two occasions will help define the team’s rotation, build teamwork and lay the foundation for the year. Of the eight opponents, three of them had winning seasons in 2012.
SAGU begins with nine consecutive matches on the road before their home debut against a familiar foe. Mid-America Christian University visits Waxahachie on Sept. 17. Before they play again in the Sheaffer Center a week later against Wiley, they take to the road for three in-a-row in Oklahoma.
With an experienced team and eight of their first 13 matches against teams under .500, the Lady Lions will have an opportunity to establish some momentum heading into the heart of their schedule.
Overall, the combined mark of the 2012 opponents was 518-501, a .508 winning percentage.
SAGU fans can witness several formidable foes. Seven of the 11 home dates are against winning teams. They are all can’t miss matches.
SAGU Sports Live will again broadcast select home matches, all in high definition. Last season they aired six of the nine at home. An official announcement regarding their livestream itinerary will come later this summer.
The Lady Lions will report to preseason camp Aug. 12.