BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — The Lady Lions had strung six consecutive wins together before their first season loss to the College of the Ozarks during Saturday's Oklahoma Wesleyan University Tournament.
In the second match of the day, against Sterling College, Southwestern Assemblies of God University's Jessica Sodich tied a school record with 34 kills. A day later, the former Ovilla Christian School Lady Eagle obliterated it with 10 kills against tournament host Oklahoma Wesleyan.
She eclipsed former Lady Lion Kelani Daniels' mark. Daniels held the record since playing in a five-set match versus Evangel University in 2007.
SAGU defeated Friends University started out Friday strong, playing four sets and beating them 25-17, 25-18, 25-27 and 25-15. The lady Lions dominated the stats, with Jessica Sodich notching 26 kills, Sophia Ivy handing out 42 assists and Paulyae Dawkins blocking seven kill attempts.
“In addition to Paulyae’s blocks, she had some huge swings down the stretch," said Hank Moore, the head volleyball coach at SAGU. "We had three girls in double digits on digs — Celi Bruce (12), Jessica Sodich (10) and Nikki Almaguer (10) — and we hit .354 as a team. That is a huge number.“
The Lady Lions also topped Sterling College in five sets 23-25, 25-17, 27-29, 27-25 and 15-7 — the match that tied Daniels' record.
Each set was a battle against Sterling, two sets went into extra points. Of those two sets, SAGU split with SC. It was the fifth set that SAGU had their most convincing lead and win. SAGU junior Kali Shaw scored four of SAGU’s final five points.
In addition to Sodich’s 34 kills, sophomore Sophia Ivy had 61 assists. Paulyae Dawkins had 13 kills, Summer Skillern and Kali Shaw each had 11 kills.
Bruce (21), Sodich (19), Ivy (15), Kali Shaw (13), Almaguer (13), as well as Skillern, were the six SAGU players that recorded double-digit digs.
The Lady Lions (7-1) finished the tournament 3-1 after the loss to College of the Ozarks and the four-set Oklahoma Wesleyan win.
The team was scheduled to face Houston's University of St. Thomas at 7 p.m. Monday at the Sheaffer Center, but the game has been rescheduled to a later date because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
On Tuesday, the Sooner Athletic Conference named Sodich Player of the Week after averaging 5.67 kills over a 15-game span.
“Jessica had a great week,” Moore said. “I'm so happy for her and she is making the most of every opportunity given to her. She has brought about a can do attitude that has impacted our entire program.”
It was SAGU's second award in as many weeks after sophomore Sophia Ivy earned SAC Setter of the Week honors.
Natalie Tristan is the SAGU sports information director, as well as a contributor to both the Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror publications. She can be reached at 1-888-YES-SAGU, firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media at @SAGUSportsNet.