TWU fought hard for Friday night’s straight-set victory over Western New Mexico, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21.
Beginning the first set with a seven-point run, the Pioneers (9-8, 5-2 Lone Star Conference) reached set point with a 14-point lead. The Mustangs (4-11, 2-5) fought back, however, and set off an 11-point run before senior Maggie Pyles put down a kill to the edge of the court and ended the set 25-21.
“It was a tough run — credit to No. 1 from Western New Mexico, she served really well tonight,” TWU coach Jeff Huebner said. “We have to trust our players to execute and get that last point.”
Adjustments made in the first set continued to keep the match close through the second. The Pioneers ran their attack through Bailey Wozniak, who led the game in assists with 17, Elizabeth Ugbaja and Tabitha Spray. Ugbaja, who led the Pioneers in kills, ended the second set in TWU’s favor, 25-23.
The match continued to stay tight through the third, with early mistakes on the Pioneers’ part leading to a seven-point run by the Mustangs. Caroline Noel finally put a stop to Western New Mexico’s momentum with a kill assisted by Katy Ranes.
TWU trailed the Mustangs for most of the third set until Pyles took over the Pioneers’ service and built momentum to overcome the deficit to game point. The Mustangs errored Ranes’ serve, ending a hard-fought match at 25-21.
The Pioneers hit for .237 led by Ugbaja’s 10 kills. Spray recorded a game-high 19 digs and Ranes served a game-high five aces.
TWU continues league play at home at 3 p.m. Saturday against UT-Permian Basin.