Volleyball: Pioneers seek to continue tradition

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Accomplishing a goal once goes down as a success. Do it more than once and it can be called a habit. Do it eight straight years and it becomes tradition. Shelly Barberee

And that's what the TWU volleyball team has built under head coach Shelly Barberee: a proud history of advancing to the Lone Star Conference tournament each of last eight seasons with Barberee at the helm.

Furthermore, the veteran coach, with a 336-212 record over 13 years, doesn't see that tradition being broken in 2011 despite the fact that half of her roster this season will be newcomers.

"I don't anticipate that changing this year," said Barberee, "even though we have all the new players we're going to have."

Reaching the LSC tournament has become a given with the Pioneers.

"Our goal each year coming in," Barberee said, "is always the same."

To qualify for the mid-November tournament, however, the Pioneers are going to have to rely heavily on eight newcomers. They must replace a player who lettered four times and a three-year starter at the libero position as well as last season's team leaders in kills and digs. Consequently, this year's team will have to come together quickly to match the Pioneers' 8-6 conference mark a year ago.

Two returning seniors, defensive specialist Arden Richardson and middle blocker Katelyn Osborne, will provide leadership while a core of eight juniors - including four transfers - gives the Pioneers experience and depth.

Sophomore middle blocker Chloe' Tate, a Ryan product, returns after placing second on the team in blocks (76) and third in kills (204).

"This is a new road for us, with 50 percent of the team returning and 50 percent newcomers," said Barberee. "We've never had that. But a lot of our girls are from this area, so they know each other and have played with each other or against each other before. It may not have been in a maroon and white uniform, but just knowing the same style and the person I think is going to help us."

Barberee introduced a new offseason program a year ago and said it has inspired more women to remain on campus and work out during the summer. She estimates that more than 90 percent of the players were able to train and play together on campus.

"I think the bonding over the summer is only going to make the team stronger," she said.

Two of the players who stayed in Denton, Osborne and Tate, have already seen benefits from remaining on campus to work out and practice together.

"Our work ethic is really good," said Tate, who already knew two of the team's three incoming freshmen: former Ryan teammate Hannah Marshall and Katelyn Barnett of Denton. "We've been doing what the coaches ask and we have been really getting after it. We all want to be here and we want to win. That helps a lot."

"I played in the gym with a lot of the girls over the summer, and we've got a lot of great hitters and defenders," Osborne said. "I think both of those areas will be strong."

An area in need of strengthening and one where Barberee and her coaching staff focused much of their recruiting efforts is the setter position. All candidates for starting setter will be new this year, although the preseason pick to lock up the job and provide improved play is junior transfer Viktorija Jablonska.

Jablonska has an eye-catching resume from her two collegiate seasons at Frank Phillips College. She led her team in assists in both 2009 (799) and 2010 (668) and at the conclusion of last year was named Most Valuable Player in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. Upon transferring to TWU, Jablonska, a native of Daugavpils, Latvia, ranked sixth all-time in single-season hitting percentage (38.6) and seventh in career kills per game with a 3.54 mark over two seasons.

Marshall is the only other setter listed on the roster and following her outstanding career at Ryan is expected to challenge for playing time as a freshman.

"Our setter is typically our quarterback," said Barberee. "We recruited strong at that position. However, we'll probably have to spend more time during two-a-days with that because they don't know our sets yet. And they don't know the speed of our ball. We'll probably have to spend more time going over that position because they're both new."

The Pioneers will open the season Friday and Saturday at the Lady Buff Invitational in Canyon. TWU's home opener will be Sept. 13 against Texas A&M-Commerce. TWU SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER

2

vs. UC-Colorado Springs in Canyon

2 p.m.

2

vs. Western State in Canyon

7 p.m.

3

vs. Adam State in Canyon

11:30 a.m.

3

vs. Southwest Baptist in Canyon

4:30 p.m.

8

at Cameron*

7 p.m.

10

at Midwestern State*

2 p.m.

13

Texas A&M-Commerce*

7 p.m.

15

Angelo State*

7 p.m.

17

Abilene Christian*

2 p.m.

22

at Texas A&M-Kingsville*

7 p.m.

24

at Incarnate Word*

2 p.m.

28

Central Oklahoma

7 p.m.

30

Arkansas Monticello+

1 p.m.

30

Arkansas Tech+

7 p.m.

OCTOBER

1

Southeastern Oklahoma+

12:30 p.m.

1

Texas A&M-International+

6:30 p.m.

4

Tarleton State*

7 p.m.

6

at Eastern New Mexico*

8 p.m.

8

at West Texas A&M*

2 p.m.

11

at Tarleton State*

7 p.m.

13

Cameron*

7 p.m.

15

Midwestern State*

2 p.m.

20

at Angelo State*

7 p.m.

22

at Abilene Christian*

2 p.m.

25

at Texas A&M-Commerce*

7 p.m.

27

Texas A&M-Kingsville*

7 p.m.

29

Incarnate Word*

2 p.m.

NOVEMBER

3

Eastern New Mexico*

7 p.m.

5

West Texas A&M*

2 p.m.

10

at LSC tournament

TBD

11

at LSC tournament

TBD

12

at LSC tournament

TBD

* Lone Star Conference games

+ Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic TWU ROSTER

No.

Name

POS

HT

YR

High School (College)

1

Hannah Marshall

S

5-10

Fr.

Denton Ryan

2

Arden Richardson

DS

5-9

Sr.

Wichita Falls

3

Morgan Wilson

L

5-7

Fr.

White Oak

4

Chloe' Tate

MB

6-0

So.

Denton Ryan

5

Viktorija Jablonska

S/RS

6-0

Jr.

Daugavpils, Latvia

(Frank Phillips)

6

Natalie Craven

S

5-6

Jr.

White Oak (Panola)

7

Erin Harman

OH

5-11

Jr.

Burleson (Navarro)

8

Janie Foreman

MB

5-11

Jr.

Paradise/Bridgeport

(Redlands CC)

9

Katelyn Barnett

OH

5-8

Fr.

Denton

10

Andrea Rivera-Rojas

OH

5-8

Jr.

Vega Baja, P.R./ Christian Military Acad. (Iowa Western)

11

Lesley Richmond

DS

5-4

Jr.

Pilot Point (NCTC)

12

Erica Humbach

MB

5-11

Jr.

Corpus Christi/Carroll

13

Hayley Summers

OH

5-9

Jr.

Carrollton/Hebron

14

Kayla Rivero

S/DS

5-4

Fr.

McKinney

15

Katelyn Osborne

MB

5-11

Sr.

Lubbock (Houston)

Head coach: Shelly Barberee; assistant coach: Todd Lyles;

graduate assistant coach: Jessica Crow; athletic trainer: Sheree Colson

 


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