By Matt Watkins
For Amarillo Globe-News
West Texas A&M hosts Texas A&M-Commerce at 6 p.m. tonight and then Texas Woman’s at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the WTAMU Fieldhouse.
The Lady Buffs (11-8, 5-4 LSC) can get back in the thick of the race for first in the Lone Star Conference with wins. The Lady Lions (11-7, 6-2) sit in second place, while the Pioneers (8-9, 5-3) are tied for third with Angelo.
Against Commerce, WT’s youth needs to find a way to overcome facing a more experienced team.
“Commerce is senior-laden,” Lady Buffs head coach Jason Skoch said. “Against Kingsville, we went up 2-0 and then looked horrible in set three, and that’s the difference between youth and experience. If we give Commerce that kind of foot in the door, it could change things fast.”
In Saturday’s match, the Pioneers will show WT a more athletic look than most of the bigger teams in the LSC.
“Woman’s has got some athletes,” Skoch said. “They’re just scrappy, they’re actually doing what every coach wants.”
The Lions are led by Jaryn and Jaslyn Wacker, who have knocked down 180 kills each this season. Savannah Rutledge leads TAMUC’s defense with 248 digs.
Briley Cole-Lewis leads the Pioneers with 161 kills this year, and Katy Ranes paces the offense, dishing out 671 assists thus far. Defensively, Bailey French leads TWU with 291 digs.
Freshman standout Erin Clark has moved into the team lead with 165 kills for the Lady Buffs, followed by senior Kamille Jones with 159. Freshman Chandler Vogel leads the WT defense with 245 digs this season, and Clark follows with 142.
Lone Star Conference Standings
West Texas A&M;5-4;11-8
Eastern New Mexico;4-4;7-11
Western New Mexico;4-4;4-12
UT Permian Basin;1-8;4-14
Friday’s games: Texas A&M-Commerce at West Texas A&M, 6 p.m., Texas Woman’s at UT Permian Basin, 6 p.m., Cameron at Texas A&M-Kingsville, 7 p.m., Tarleton State at Eastern New Mexico, 7 p.m., Angelo State at Western New Mexico, 7 p.m.
Saturday’s games: Texas Woman’s at West Texas A&M, 1 p.m., Texas A&M-Commerce at UT Permian Basin, 1 p.m., Midwestern State at Texas A&M-Kingsville, 2 p.m., Tarleton State at Western New Mexico, 7 p.m., Angelo State at Eastern New Mexico, 7 p.m.