TWU Intercollegiate Athletics Kicking Off 90th Year

by BoCarter | Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

DENTON, Texas – After preliminary scrimmages and tons of work indoors and outdoors, Texas Woman’s U. soccer and volleyball teams are ready for regular-season activity, which begins at 2 p.m. Friday when the volleyball team hosts East Central at 2 p.m. in the Holiday Inn Express and Suite Classic before facing Arkansas-Monticello at 7 p.m. Friday.
Coach Shelly Barberee’s 10th TWU edition then hosts New Mexico Highlands at 11:30 a.m. Saturday nefore a historic return match against last year’s opening foe Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras at 4:30 p.m.  The true irony about the match with Rio Piedras is that TWU got to the island territory one day after a devastating hurricane in August 2011. This year Hurricane Isaac was churning through the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the week before their repeat engagement.
Saturday finds the TWU soccer team – head coach Fleur Benatar’s 11th since she started the Pioneers program – playing its first-ever regulation contest under new lights at TWU Soccer Field against Heartland Conference power Dallas Baptist at 7:30 p.m.
Both coaches see the significance of the 2012 lidlifters.
““I want to thank the Holiday Inn and Suites for being sponsor of this week’s opening tournament,” Barberee noted. “We’re encouraging our fans to attend as we don’t have any more home matches until Sept. 21 with West Texas A&M and Sept. 22 with Eastern New Michigan. We go to Colorado next week for a tournament, and then we are on the road for several Lone Star Conference matches early.
“We’re excited about Puerto Rico Rio Piedras coming to our arena after we played down there last year,” she continued. “We are getting into heavy action early with four matches Friday and Saturday. We have eight new players in 2012 with two junior college All-America players, three transfers, one freshman, and one of our top returnees – Chloe’ Tate – who has been here almost as long as I have (10 years) it seems. I also am fortunate to have two great assistant coaches in Todd Lyles and Jessica Crow.
“Of course, last year Viktorija Jablonska exceeded our expectations as the 2011 LSC Player of the Year,” Barberee added, “and she is the preseason Player of the Year this season. We are proud that she is a returning first team All-America. Knock on wood, we have everybody on the court in the early going, and we have a chance to be pretty solid if we can hold down the injuries.”
Besides the hard-hitting Jablonska (a senior from Daugavpils, Latvia, with a 3.84 attack average and .296 hitting percentage to lead the ’11 squad, which was 13-17 overall), the veteran TWU mentor has a strong stable in 6-0 Chloe’ Tate of Denton with a .189 hitting percentage and three-year starting credentials. Junior college All-America selections from a year ago Josie Santos and Marcela Alves of Brazil via Panola (Texas) College add a new dimension to the Pioneer offense.
Much the same can be said for the soccer team, which had bad injury and schedule luck in 2011 and seeks to build around eight seniors and a 30-player roster (largest in TWU history).
“We’re starting the season with 31 student-athletes, including one redshirt,” Benatar related. “This is a large number of players, but we literally have had some kids fall right into our laps. We had twins coming from Incarnate Word (Amanda and Ashley Fry from Plano) and a transfer East Tennessee State (Denton’s Taylor Maxson). We have four transfers total and 13 freshmen this year as opposed to eight transfers last year when we never developed great team chemistry.
“We have what I would call a young and old team with eight seniors and the 13 freshmen,” she noted. “The thing that impresses me the most about this team is the energy level and fitness. We were 2-0-1 in three scrimmages against a Navarro College team with three outstanding Jamaican players, Southwestern Oklahoma State and our alumni team. We’re excited about the giveaway of 150 T-shirts with Flip the Switch on them for the new lighting system, and we can’t wait to start the season.”
TWU director of athletics Chalese Connors carried on the optimistic mood as she discussed the new soccer lights and upcoming events.
“I want to thank Dr. Richard Nicholas (vice president for Student Life) and the administration at TWU for helping us to get lights for the soccer stadium,” she related. “Obviously, we are excited about both seasons starting this weekend.
“We also have the Oct. 13 TWU Hall of Fame banquet and induction at Hubbard Hall on campus as Teresa Flores (softball shortstop) and Jamie Ingram (softball catcher) will be inducted along with a new category – a team of distinction,” she related. “That would be our 1979 AIAW national championship softball team. As you can tell, it’s a very softball-themed ceremony. We’re looking forward to a very good turnout.”
That’s the general feeling around TWU as the university looks at a projected record enrollment above 15,000 on all there campuses (official numbers are to be determined), and the sub-100-degree temperatures have fans ready for the university’s 90th consecutive season of intercollegiate activity (since 1913).

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>