When TWU’s Pioneers sit down to prepare for this weekend’s home matches against Cameron and Midwestern State, they won’t be watching any film from when the teams met in the first round of Lone Star Conference play last month.
TWU coach Shelly Barberee might watch a little tape from September’s sweeps of both teams, but she’s not going to let her players relive the quick victories. Instead, Barberee wants the Pioneers focusing on how the Aggies and Mustangs are playing now instead of how they looked five weeks ago.
“It looks good on paper, but those teams have gotten much better,” Barberee said. “They’re not going to be easy games. We’ve got to stay focused, and thank goodness we’re at home. They should be good matches, but we can’t take them lightly.”
TWU hosts Cameron at 6 p.m. Friday and Midwestern State at 2 p.m Saturday at Kitty Magee Arena.
“We watch film of every team we play, but will we watch the film of when we played them? I probably will, but the girls won’t,” Barberee said. “We’ll watch a more recent match that they’ve played — probably the matches they played last weekend.
“Their team dynamics have changed,” she said. “It’s been numerous weeks since we played, so we’ll watch a more recent film of them. Obviously, both teams are playing much better.”
Guarding against overconfidence is another reason the Pioneers won’t see footage of the three-set victories they claimed earlier this year against Cameron and Midwestern.
“We need to know what they can do now, not what they did then,” Barberee said.
Against Cameron, the Pioneers will be focused on slowing down right-side hitter Kelle Carver. Carver is a left-handed, 6-1 sophomore who received a medical redshirt in 2012 and was still rusty when the teams faced each other in late September.
Carver, a second-team all-conference player as a freshman in 2011, had just four kills in TWU’s Sept. 28 win. Last weekend, she exploded for 23 kills against Angelo State and a season-high 27 kills against Tarleton State.
“She’s back on her game again,” Barberee said. “She was not on when we played them.”
Youth clinic slated
A free youth volleyball clinic will be held Saturday immediately following the Pioneers’ 2 p.m. match against Midwestern State. The clinic is for girls in the eighth grade and below.
Participants must register and complete waiver forms in the Kitty Magee Arena lobby prior to the match. All participants receive free admission to the match. For more information, contact Jeff Bowerman at 940-898-2385 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home at last
On Saturday night, when the Pioneers returned to Denton after rolling past Dallas Baptist, the road-weary Pioneers stepped off their bus into a night filled with thunder, lightning and pounding rain.
But the conditions didn’t dampen the spirits of the Pioneers. With three weeks left in the regular season, TWU faces just one more single-game road trip while finally getting to enjoy playing at Kitty Magee Arena. Five of the team’s last six matches are at home.
“When we got off the bus, even though it was pouring down rain and we had won, the last thing the girls said was, ‘Coach, we’ve only got one more road trip,’” Barberee said. “We’re thankful that we’re finally at home.”
The trip to Dallas was the sixth consecutive match on the road for the Pioneers, who have played just three matches at home all season. Following home matches this weekend against Cameron and Midwestern State, the Pioneers’ only remaining road test is at Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 9.
No easy task
TWU’s battle to qualify for the Lone Star Conference tournament won’t get any easier this weekend when the Pioneers play their final two regular-season games at home.
The Pioneers dropped to 4-10-2 overall and 1-6-1 in LSC play last week and are last in the six-team standings. The top four schools earn berths in the Nov. 8-10 tournament.
On Friday, TWU will host Eastern New Mexico (4-6-5, 1-3-4) at 8 p.m. On Sept. 29, the teams played to a 2-2 deadlock in Portales, N.M.
TWU closes out the regular season Sunday with a 2 p.m. game against West Texas A&M (3-8-5, 1-5-2), which beat the Pioneers 1-0 on Sept. 27.