The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s volleyball team, fresh off of their 2011 campaign, continue to make news.
Head coach Hansford Moore announced that a pair of seniors were recognized by the NCCAA for their achievements this season.
Tina Brown was cited as an academic all-american for a grade point average higher than 3.50.
The 5-foot-7 Brown was a regular in the Lady Lions’ rotation for all four years, racking up 302 career kills while hammering 158 service aces. Impressive in her versatile roles, she managed to make 87 blocks while scooping up 1,390 digs, an average of 347 per year.
Krystal Cisneros has filled stat sheets and made headlines throughout her time at Southwestern. She added another honor at the close of the season when the NCCAA named her a second team all-american.
The 5-foot-11 middle blocker was a menace at the mesh. She had a career-best 329 kills as a senior. She hit .262 this fall to finish No. 7 in the Red River Athletic Conference. In fact, the Lady Lions placed four in the top 20: Kassy Cox, Jessica Sodich and Caitlyn Hudson. Only Wiley College had as many.
While her authoritative swings were effective, opponents likely spent more time planning for her ability to block shots at the net. Cisneros had 176 solo blocks and 295 times she teamed up with a teammate for assisted blocks.
As a freshman she had 142 blocks, 71 of them solo. That ranked her ninth in the nation in solo rejections.
Another senior, Laura Espinoza also drew the praise of Moore.
She set a school record for the most digs achieved in a season with 687. That total, which ranked No. 23 in the NAIA, was more than anyone in the RRAC.
“She had an amazing year,” Moore said of Espinoza. “I never dreamed that anyone would break the digs record here.”
Esther Jacquez held the mark since she was credited with 653 in the 2006 season. Jacquez, a libero, had 628 in 2005.
The following season, 2007, the Lady Lions had four players with more than 500 digs. Kelly Ray’s 585 was tops. Rachel Brown made 415 digs in 2008, while Tina Brown’s 437 was best on the squad in 2009.
A year later saw another new digs leader in Jordan Briggs. She scooped 487 in 2010. Briggs is now an assistant coach for SAGU.
SAGU (23-18) finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the RRAC. In the conference tournament the Lady Lions rallied from an 0-2 deficit to stun Texas Wesleyan University, 3-2, on the Rams’ home court. Southwestern was swept by UT-Brownsville (32-2), which went on to win its first national championship.
The Lions then advanced to the NCCAA Nationals in Orlando a month ago. There, Coach Moore’s club went 1-3, nearly moving to the Final Four.
SAGU’s high point was a five-game upset of Malone University (29-11 record in NCAA D-II).
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