CANYON — Middle blocker Marcela Alves posted a match-high 13 kills Thursday to lead TWU to a 25-23, 25-12, 25-19 sweep of Texas A&M-Kingsville in the Lone Star Conference tournament. TWU advances to the semifinals to face Angelo State for the second straight season.
The Pioneers played without head coach Shelly Barberee on the sideline. Barberee was absent because of a family emergency.
The Pioneers overcame emotions related to her absence and handed Barberee her 192nd win at TWU. She now is the all-time winningest coach after topping Sandy Troudt’s mark of 191 victories.
In the opening set, TWU went on a 6-2 run to build a four-point lead at 12-8. The Pioneers maintained their lead until A&M-Kingsville used a 7-3 run to tie the score at 22. TWU answered by scoring three of the final four points to capture the set.
In the second set, the Pioneers jumped out to a 6-0 lead and cruised to a 13-point win. TWU closed the set on an 8-1 run.
The Pioneers led 8-7 in the third and used a 10-2 run to extend the lead to double digits.
Alves finished the match with a .611 hitting percentage with just two hitting errors. Senior Chloe’ Tate added eight kills, while senior Josie Santos chipped in with seven kills and 13 digs. Morgan Wilson had a match-high 20 digs, and Kayla Rivero assisted on 22 kills.
“We were missing a big part of our team today in Shelly, but the girls came together and wanted to win this for her,” TWU assistant coach Jessica Beener said. “The girls also wanted to break the wins record for her today. She worked so hard to get here. Even though she is not here, this is still her team and her victory.
“Our timing was off in the first set and we did not record a single block. We figured [it] out in the second and played much better. Marcela continues to dominate on the front row.”
Today’s semifinal match between TWU and the Rambelles is scheduled for 5 p.m. Live stats and video are available at www.twuathletics.com.