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First place 'Belles to take on reigning Lone Star Conference champions

Home court advantage at stake for 'Belles

By Stephen Cogan
On October 26, 2012

     The 'Belles are ready for the rematch of the season after winning home matches against Abilene Christian University and the University of Incarnate Word.

     The 'Belles have sole possession of first place in the Lone Star Conference with a 20-3 overall record and a 13-1 conference record.

     The 'Belles now will battle the West Texas A&M Lady Buffalos, the current and six-time consecutive Lone Star Conference Champions, on their home court to decide who is the number one seed for the Lone Star Conference Tournament on Nov. 15-17.

     The Lady Buffalos have a 20-3 overall record as well, but have an 11-2 conference record, which ties them for second in the Lone Star Conference.

     The 'Belles' one conference loss was to the Lady Buffalos in Canyon, so if the 'Belles lose to the Lady Buffalos, they will be in second place because of the two losses against the Lady Buffalos.

     West Texas A&M is now in this do-or-die situation after a major upset loss to ACU, a team that was 8-12 at the time.

     Head Coach Chuck Waddington said his players took a lesson from that match and from their own match against ACU.

     "I think the biggest thing is this match right here was an eye-opener," Waddington said. "The fact that Abilene stepped up their game and they beat West Texas [A&M] tells me they are good enough to beat anybody. It was kind of a wake up call for us, and it really helped us prepare this week."
The 'Belles won their match against ACU in three sets by scores of 25-18, 25-13 and 25-21.

     Sophomore Shelby Wilt, the team leader in digs, went on the offensive against ACU and served 12 consecutive points against the Wildcats in one set.

     "I was just taking it one point at a time," Wilt said. "This past week, we'd been working on serving tough, so I was just trying to bring what we've been doing in practice into the game."
Wilt said she hopes she continues to develop and grow as a player with the 'Belles.

     "Shelby is a play maker," Waddington said. "She makes everyone around her better, and that's what I love about her the most. She plays with such a passion and she makes the other kids next to her want to play hard, too. You can't teach somebody to do that. She's fun to coach and willing to do whatever you ask her to make herself better."

     While Wilt was serving points, freshman Haley Bianco was earning her first Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Week award by making 17 digs and helping the 'Belles keep their undefeated streak at home.

     "I feel awesome," Bianco said. "I'm so excited to be granted with that. It's amazing to think that I can come in as a freshman and win that award."

     Bianco said the only thing that she has worked on in practice has been defense and getting her speed up.

     The women went on from ACU to play the University of Incarnate Word in their annual Dig Pink match where they raised money for breast cancer research while wearing pink uniforms.

     The women won in three sets by scores of 25-9, 25-14, and 25-16 while raising $2,200.

     "It's a big deal especially for me," senior Katie Coleman said. "I've had cancer in my family, so it hits home."

     The women move on from their two wins to face West Texas A&M on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Junell Center in a match that could determine who has the best record in the conference.

      "That's something that we try to put out of our minds honestly," junior Shelbi Goode said. "We have to approach this like any other match and just come in and play our game."
Waddington said he has high hopes for this team.

     "I feel like this is a team that can win it all, but it doesn't just happen." Waddington said. "We have to earn it."

     Whether the women know it or not, they have their coach's love.

     "I love my girls," Waddington said. "I love my team, my staff; I love them all. They work their tails off for me and for this school. I hope the school is proud of them because they do a
great job."

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