With the TWU Pioneers down 2-1 in the second half of their first—round game against Dixie State, Kaylee Rekieta played the ball to Riley Sutton, who sent a shot past the goalkeeper and into the net to send the game into overtime at a snowy field in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Both teams traded opportunities during extra time, but neither found a way to cash in. In penalty kicks, Dixie State defeated the Pioneers 4-3 to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“We showed resiliency throughout the night,” head coach Babak Abouzar said. “I told our girls after the game that there’s no reason to hold our heads down. There’s only going to be one team that’s happy at the end of the season.”
After an unexpected heavy snowfall overnight, the start time was moved from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. to allow facilities personnel to use a snowplow and shovels to clear the turf field. The evening temperature was 22 degrees, the coldest weather TWU has ever played in.
TWU (15-5-1) set the program record for most wins in a single season and second-most shutouts with 10. This 2019 team has set the foundation for success of many teams to come.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” Abouzar said. “This opportunity was a great experience, and it’s something that we’re going to continue to strive for to get back here soon. Now that this team has had a taste of success, we’ll be hungry to duplicate it in years to come. Our seniors left the program in really good hands for our returners to continue to build on it.”
Volleyball: TWU’s run in LSC tournament comes to a close
The Texas Woman’s volleyball team had shown glimpses of brilliance throughout the season. Head coach Jeff Huebner even calls his team one of the most athletic in the Lone Star Conference.
The Pioneers showed vast improvements as the season went on, and last Thursday it all finally came together. TWU downed No. 1 seed Texas A&M Commerce on its home floor in the quarterfinal round of the LSC tournament to advance to the semifinals for the second time in three years.
“When our kids put their teammates before themselves and do the right things from an execution perspective, volleyball is a simple game,” Huebner said. “We did a really good job of keeping it simple, making good choices and working with a purpose.”
In the semifinal round, TWU couldn’t find the same rhythm that propelled them over A&M Commerce. A red-hot Tarleton State team swept the Pioneers to end their season.
The Pioneers finished the year with an overall record of 17-15, despite a young core and injuries to their front row at the end of the season. Huebner believes his program is equipped to compete for years to come thanks to this season’s senior class.
“I want to specifically thank and make note of what this senior class did for our program,” Huebner said after the loss. “With a second—and third — place finish in the LSC tournament in the last three seasons, and an increase in national RPI of over 200 places, takes a belief and trust I’ll never be able to express enough gratitude for.”
Basketball: Pioneers open up LSC conference play with thrilling win over Tarleton State
After defeating Northeastern State 60-47 for the season’s first road win, TWU made the short drive to Stephenville on Saturday to face Tarleton State for its first Lone Star Conference game.
The Pioneers went into Wisdom Gymnasium in front of 1,314 screamin Tarleton fans and took down the previously unbeaten Texans in a thrilling 63-55 overtime victory.
“It was a huge win for us,” TWU coach Beth Jillson said. “We showed a ton of resiliency on the road, and I was really proud of how we played defensively. We lost a lot of close games last year because we were pretty inexperienced, but we have a lot of the same players back, and I think that will help us pull out games like Tarleton in the future.”
TWU forced a season-high 27 turnovers and is third in the LSC in points allowed per game.
Redshirt freshman Brielle Woods had a breakout performance with 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting. She also knocked down all three of her attempts beyond the arc.
“Brielle is just so consistent for us,” Jillson said. “She works really hard, and her effort on both sides of the ball is unmatched. It was great to see her have the performance she did against Tarleton.”
Ma’K’La Woods finished with 16 points while Carissa Moody added her third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
TWU will continue league play next Thursday, Dec. 5, at No. 2 Lubbock Christian, who is the reigning national champions.