Kassy Cox and Jessica Sodich collected a dozen kills apiece, but it wasn’t enough for the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lady Lions to get a victory.
SAGU narrowly lost on the road to Oklahoma City University 22-25, 26-24, 24-26 and 25-27.
The setback dropped SAGU to 10-8 overall and leveled their mark in the Sooner Athletic Conference to 3-3. After an 8-4 and 3-0 SAC start, it was their second close loss in a week.
OKCU moved to 10-7 and 3-2 in league play. It avenged last year’s 3-2 loss at SAGU when the Stars won games three and four only to have the Lady Lions silence their rally with a 15-12 victory in the fifth.
Monday night witnessed the two clubs exchange high velocity shots at the net, racking up big kills and more errors than desired.
SAGU had two more digs, but OKCU had 10 more blocks.
Three of the games were won by the bare minimum of two points.
“Our kids fought the entire match,” SAGU head coach Hank Moore said. “We did struggle a little on offense, but both teams played really hard.”
The Stars hit .153 and the Lady Lions finished at .097.
SAGU is third (.187) in the SAC in hitting, one point ahead of fourth-place OKCU (.186).
“I feel that Faith Hardin grew up right in front of our eyes tonight,” Moore said. “She and McKenzie Criddle did a great job tonight.”
The pair of freshmen continue to make their mark on the court.
The coach also pointed out the play of junior Sodich, who had 25 digs.
“She played one of her best matches defensively. Our girls just don’t quit,” More said. “I hate losing. But when we compete like we did tonight, I think we grow as a club. This is a tough conference. Every night will be tough. We are making some great strides.”
After falling behind the Stars, 17-8, SAGU put together a stirring comeback in game two. Cox drilled three kills in a row to fuel the rally. A pair of bombs by Sodich moved the Lions from four down to 23-21.
Brittany Briggs, of Maypearl, began launching serves that coaxed four consecutive attacking errors as SAGU finished an 18-7 run by scoring the game’s final five points to win, 26-24.
In the next two sets it was the Stars who shone brightest when the outcome hung in the balance.
SAGU led game three, 23-22, when it made a serving error. The home team countered with an ace and two late kills to escape, 26-24.
Needing a win in the fourth to force a fifth, the Lady Lions found themselves behind 8-4. Taylor Calverley set up Cox for a monster spike to even the score at 11 then assisted a Hannah Lewis kill for a 13-11 lead.
Kills from Sodich maintained the lead at 15-13 and 18-16. The Stars answered with a critical 6-0 run to go on top, 22-18.
Cox ripped a kill, which was bookended by two Hardin kills to balance the score at 24. A hitting miscue by the Stars gave SAGU a 25-24 lead.
OKCU used a kill to knot the score, and then parlayed back-to-back Lady Lion hitting errors for the win, 27-25.
Sodich and Cox each blasted 12 kills and Hardin and Criddle hammered eight and five. Hardin was set up 29 times. Criddle was errorless in 14 attempts.
Senior setter Calverley recorded 34 assists.
On defense, four players finished in double-digits in digs. Sodich had 25, Emmalee Smith, of Red Oak, had16, Alissa Kirk had 12 and Briggs dug 11. Kirk fired two of the team’s three aces.
SAGU returns to the court on Saturday afternoon in a highly anticipated clash between the Lady Lions (10-8) and Wayland Baptist University (16-3).
The No. 22 ranked Pioneers and SAGU will start at 11 a.m. in a match that will be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live.