The Wiley College volleyball team are hoping to get the Red River Athletic Conference game off to a good start as they travel to Huston-Tillotson University on Friday and Our Lady of the Lake University on Saturday.
Friday’s game will take place at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Huston-Tillotson University Athletics Facebook page. Saturday’s game will take place at 1 p.m. and will have live stats and live video. The links can be found in the media calendar on the Wiley College Athletic website.
The Lady Wildcats (2-2) open the road conference game for the third straight season and 10 of 13. They started the conference strong – winning their last 13 conference opener games. Friday’s conference opener will be their first game in more than two weeks.
Huston-Tillotson University (2-1) joined Wiley College to withdraw last season and fire two players from their 2019 championship squad. He is in his first season under the direction of head coach Joelle Mafo. The Lady Rams suffered their first loss on Tuesday against Texas Wesleyan, who is garnering votes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Top 25 poll. They began their season on September 1 with a victory over the University of St. Thomas-Houston. After that game, he beat the Prairie View A&M School of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The Lady Rams are tied for the lead in blocks per set (1.54). Kennedy White leads the team with 2.8 kills per set and a 0.338 winning percentage. She shares the block team lead with Cierra Harris and Victoria Ratliff at six.
Wiley College leads the series with 18 wins, but has fallen in five of the last seven. His last victory against the Lady Rams was in the 2018 Red River Athletic Conference Championship game. Huston-Tillotson won both games in 2019, depriving Wiley College of their regular season title.
Against Our Lady of the Lake, the Lady Wildcats lag the series 12-11 but have won four of the last five. The Saints won the final meeting of the 2019 Red River Athletic Conference semifinals, which ended Wiley College’s new offer for the conference tournament title. Tiyanna Johnson has said they are looking to bounce back from those previous setbacks.
“We are not the individuals we were then,” Johnson said. “Since then, we have worked a lot. We reminded ourselves that we don’t want to feel what we felt when we last played them. We will be ready to play them this weekend.
Head coach Nancy Sikobe doesn’t care about the past.
“It’s a new regime, it’s a new time for us, even though we have already beaten them or they have beaten us,” Sikobe said. “For me, it’s a new season. We’re going to focus on putting our right foot forward and doing what we have to do. “
Last season, Our Lady of the Lake won its fourth conference title by only having to face Southwestern University and Jarvis Christian College. He returned 14, entering his third season under the direction of Scott Mattera.
The Saints (5-2) have won five of their opening seven matches. Their two setbacks came against schools currently receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll. They lead the conference in kills per set (12.65), winning percentage (0.194), assists per set. set (11.77) and recoveries per set (16.88). Camila Ramirez leads the team with 85 kills for an average of 3.2 per set. Sadie Ballesteros leads the batting percentage (0.343). Tina Trevino averages 5.4 digs per set.
The Lady Wildcats lead the conference with 2.3 service aces per set and rank second in batting percentage. Olivia Phillip leads the team with 30 kills and averages 4.7 assists per set. She also has a team record of 11 aces. Johnson leads the team with a .339 success percentage. She shares the lead of the block team with Phillip and Hailie Williams at age four. Merritt Elder averages 3.7 digs per set.
Sikobe said consistency will be the key.
“We need to focus on our service and reception,” Sikobe said. “Both teams have good servers. We need to focus on our blockage. If we can block well and serve well and receive well, I don’t see a problem because I trust my hitters and I trust our passers so much.