Lady Lions romp to SAC crown

SAGU volleyball beats Wayland Baptist in final to earn automatic bid to NAIA tournament

SAGU Athletics
SAGU volleyball team players and coaches celebrate winning the Sooner Athletic Conference championship in Oklahoma City last Saturday. The Lady Lions will travel to Central Methodist (Mo.) this weekend for the opening round of the NAIA national tournament.

OKLAHOMA CITY — On Saturday afternoon in the Abe Lemons Arena, the SAGU volleyball team won the 2021 Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Championship for the first time in program history. They defeated Wayland Baptist University in three sets with scores of 25-21, 25-19, and 25-23.

The Lady Lions (26-8) only lost one set throughout the entirety of the tournament. With this championship win, SAGU volleyball has officially clinched a spot in the NAIA National Tournament.

"Our kids played an outstanding match today,” SAGU head volleyball coach Hank Moore said. “Our offense stayed fast throughout the match. Our defense was incredible. All of our kids played very hard. This was a huge win for our program. I'm very proud of the entire team. Our first conference tournament championship and our first automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament."

Alexis Mealer led the SAGU offense once again with 19 kills hitting .255 throughout the match. Mealer accounted for 20.5 points against the Pioneers. Abby Wells added 12 kills, hitting .370 in the match while Ava Myers totaled 7 kills. Riley Burcham had a championship performance as she accounted for 36 assists, 14 digs, and 3 kills. Tessa Glick led the SAGU backcourt with 17 digs, giving her 544 digs on the year.

As a team, the Lady Lions ended the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament with a .240 hitting percentage and 140 kills while their opponents hit just .112. SAGU also totaled 196 digs, 17 aces, and 12 blocks throughout the tournament.

Mealer was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, and Burcham was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Mealer ended the tournament totaling 53 kills and averaging 5.30 kills per set. She hit .293 over the three games played. Burcham put together a brilliant performance over the three games played in the tournament as she totaled 112 assists averaging 11.20 assists per set. She also led all players in service aces with 5 and added 40 digs.

SAGU volleyball will travel to Fayette, Mo. to face Central Methodist University this Saturday, Nov. 20, in the 2021 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round. Central Methodist finished the regular season ranked No. 14 in the final 2021 NAIA Women's Volleyball Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Eagles currently sit at 28-7 on the year and earned an automatic qualifier into the NAIA National Championship Opening Round after placing second in the Heart of America Conference.

The volleyball national championship includes a field of 48 teams that will compete in 24 opening-round matches played on campus sites nationwide on Saturday. Opening-round winners will advance to the final site for a 24-team pool play tournament. One team from each pool advances to single-elimination championship play. The final championship site will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 4 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.