Miri Shade posted a season- and team-high 17 kills along with a team-high 15 kills to lead TWU in taking the first set from No. 14 Tarleton State at Kitty Magee Arena.
The Pioneers (2-7, 0-1 Lone Star) challenged the TexAnns (7-3, 1-0) in TWU's 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-16 loss, with Katy Ranes tossing out a match-high 33 assists along with a pair of aces and Briley Cole-Lewis registering nine kills.
A Shade kill registered the first point of the contest, but the Pioneers fell behind until a TexAnn error for a 12-11 lead. A kill by Courtney Noel preceded Shade powering through a block to put the Pioneers up 19-16. Shade then sent a tip to the TSU side of the floor, and as it came back she slammed it back down to keep TWU ahead 21-19. Cole-Lewis knocked down a TexAnn return and notched the final point from the right side for a set win.
"Our players came out ready to compete with the No. 14 team tonight. I was really happy with the energy in the gym. The fans, band and dance team were great and our players really responded. Miri played great for us and it was nice to see her back and confident," TWU coach Jeff Huebner said.
A kill by Kerstin Jenkins in Set 2 pulled the Pioneers to within 6-4, but six straight TexAnn points, including three straight blocks, sent TWU into a 12-4 hole. Shade found the back corner to cut the lead to 13-7, but the TexAnns earned four straight to go up 17-7. The Pioneers were unable to pull closer than eight the rest of the set.
Shade put TWU up early in Set 3 on a kill at 2-1 before TSU strung together a 4-0 run. A cross-court kill by Cole-Lewis cut the advantage to 7-4, and a ball handling error on the TexAnns tied the set at 19. Ranes gave the Pioneers a lead at 20-19 on an ace, but TSU finished the set on a 6-1 run.
In the fourth set, a kill by Haley Collins put TWU up 2-1, but that proved to be the only Pioneer lead for the remainder of the match. A kill by Shade and ace by Bailey French closed TWU to within 14-8, but a TexAnn kill stretched the advantage to 20-10.
The Pioneers host No. 5 Angelo State at 2 p.m. Saturday.