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Special to the N.E.T. Sports Gazette

COMMERCE, Texas – After a dramatic lineup change from last season, the Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team is ready for a challenge.

The Lions are introducing four new faces and seven veterans in its run up to the Aug. 27 season opener at the Harding University Classic against Missouri Western.

Second-year Lion head coach Gwendolyn Adams sat down to discuss the new season.

Adams’ aim … on attitude

Last season, the Lions started on a roll, going an undefeated 4-0 to kick off coach Adams’ tenure. But then a disappointing 1-3 performance at the Colorado State-Pueblo Invitational sent the Lions into a tailspin, ending in a 15-16 record and a fifth-place finish in the Lone Star Conference North Division.

Adams says it has been a major push this off-season to not let that happen again.
“It is not a matter of what we will do. It is a matter of what we have done. Our team dynamic is very different from last season. We had a fabulous spring and worked on a lot of fundamentals.

“We began the season undefeated because we didn’t face anybody who challenged us. When we began facing teams that challenged us, mentally we were broke down. This year, our team has a different mental attitude. … We have more mental toughness. This group of girls will continue to fight and learn even when the going gets tough. The mental aspect is going to make a larger difference in how we compete.”

Adams’ aim … on the floor

“Our offense is fast tempo with an emphasis on middle hitters. [Chasalan] Roberts was an all-conference player at Temple College. I expect her to make an immediate impact. … I recruited her out of high school, and she ended up taking the [junior college] route. So I’ve seen her grow from a raw athlete to someone who was an impact player.”

With the addition of Roberts and Colleen Favaro in the middle, Adams says passing stability is going to allow for more options with the ball. “We’re going to have layouts for fast attacks and with deceptive attack patterns.”

But for the Lions to return to the top of the LSC, three returning senior outside hitters are going play their part, Adams stresses. “Meagan Redfearn, [Melinda] Townsend—and Kayla Hanzelka—are going to be big this year. We have a great group of upperclassmen. I expect them to lead us physically as well as mentally and emotionally.”

Hanzelka, who had 209 digs in 86 games, is 64 digs from cracking the A&M-Commerce Top-10 list for all-time digs. Redfearn had 24 kills in 29 games her junior year. Townsend had 26 kills in 20 games.

The Lions will have a freshman at setter. Coach Adams is optimistic about North Mesquite product Jackie Orr. “She has an amazing work ethic, and she will be ready to run some offense on the court this season.”

Adams’ aim … on the Lions’ opponents

The Lions face Harding University in their second match. It’s a reminder of what Adams called their best match of last season, a 3-2 win in Commerce.

The Lions have a tough swim this season, but they aren’t backing down. With Division II National Champion North Alabama, West Texas A&M, with St. Mary’s and St. Edwards in their sights, they’re in a position to catch everybody by surprise.

2004 Texas A&M University-Commerce Volleyball Schedule
Date Opponent Site Time
Aug. 27-28 Harding University Classic Searcy, Ark.
Aug. 27 Missouri Western 10:00
Aug. 27 Harding (Ark.) 2:30
Aug. 28 Christian Brothers (Tenn.) 10:00
Aug. 28 Missouri Southern 4:45
Aug. 31 Southern Arkansas Commerce 7:00
Sept. 10 at Henderson State Arkadelphia, Ark. 6:00
Sept. 11 vs. North Alabama Arkadelphia, Ark. Noon
Sept. 14 at St. Edward’s Austin 7:00
Sept. 17 at Abilene Christian Abilene 7:00
Sept. 18 at Angelo State San Angelo 2:00
Sept. 20 Dallas Baptist Commerce 7:00
Sept. 24-25 Lone Star Conference Crossover Abilene
Sept. 24 Texas A&M-Kingsville 1:30
Sept. 24 West Texas A&M 7:30
Sept. 25 Eastern New Mexico 3:00
Sept. 28 Henderson State Commerce 7:00
Sept. 30 at Central Oklahoma* Edmond, Okla. 7:00
Oct. 2 at Cameron* Lawton, Okla. 2:00
Oct. 8-9 West Texas A&M Invitational Canyon
Oct. 8 Oklahoma Panhandle State 10:00
Oct. 8 Eastern New Mexico 6:00
Oct. 9 St. Mary’s 11:00
Oct. 9 at West Texas A&M 5:00
Oct. 12 at Southeastern Oklahoma* Durant, Okla. 7:00
Oct. 14 Midwestern State* Commerce 7:00
Oct. 16 Texas Woman’s* Commerce 7:00
Oct. 21 Cameron* Commerce 7:00
Oct. 23 Central Oklahoma* Commerce 2:00
Oct. 26 Southeastern Oklahoma* Commerce 7:00
Oct. 29 Ouachita Baptist Commerce 7:00
Nov. 4 Texas Woman’s* Denton 7:00
Nov. 6 Midwestern State* Wichita Falls 7:00
Nov. 11-13 Lone Star Conference Tournament TBA TBA

*Lone Star Conference North Division Matches All Times Central

Lions Look Strong In Scrimmage

Special to the N.E.T. Sports Gazette

COMMERCE, Texas – The Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions tested their game preparations with a two-hour, 100-play scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

The new Lion spread offense collected 460 total yards in the scrimmage, scoring six times.

The defense force several new possessions for the offense and recorded one interception.

“We had spurts of well executed plays and spurts where we lost our concentration,” said first-year Lion head coach Scotty Conley. “Overall I was impressed with the attitude and desire. We just need more work together.”

The number one Lion offense was directed by senior transfer Buster Faulkner of Lilburn, Ga./Parkview via Valdosta State. Faulkner completed 22-of-31 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also led the Lions to a rushing touchdown on the first drive of the scrimmage.

Paris true freshman Bryan Hughes threw for 49 yards with the second-team, hitting 11-of-16 passes. Senior Chris Miller of Plano, ran the third team, completing 14-of-15 passes for 135 yards with two touchdowns. Miller also ran in a touchdown from two-yards out.

The Lions threw to 17 different receivers in the scrimmage as junior Victor Bennett, who led the Lions in receiving last season, led the team with six receptions for 73 yards. Junior Toussaint Henderson of Aloha, Ore., a first-team NJCAA All-American tight end from Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC, was just behind with six grabs for 72 yards. Both had touchdowns from Faulkner.

Junior Tony Frazier of Houston/Eisenhower, a transfer from the University of New Mexico, led the rushers with 39 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 51 yards.

Redshirt freshman Orlando Hernandez of Austin chalked up six receptions for 60 yards with the third unit.

Junior linebacker Dennis Connor of Fort Worth/Wyatt had the lone interception, with a 20-yard return.

The Lions completed 10 days of preseason camp with the scrimmage. They open the 2004 season at home on Thursday, August 26 against Southern Arkansas at 6 p.m. The Muleriders are ranked 11th in NCAA Division II by Lindy’s Football Magazine and 21st by Street & Smith

thursday August 26, 2004

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Copyright 2002-2004 The North East Texas Sports Gazette

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