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After reaching the Lone Star Conference tournament a season ago in their first year in the league, the Western New Mexico University volleyball team is again slated to reach the conference tournament as they were tabbed seventh in the preseason poll that was announced Tuesday.
The Lady Mustangs garnered 153 points to land in seventh, 33 points clear of Texas Woman’s in eighth. Angelo State collected 21 first-place votes and is again the pick to win the conference with 340 points. Tarleton State came in second, followed by Texas A&M-Kingsville in third. Tarleton State (9), Texas A&M-Kingsville (1) and West Texas A&M (1) in fifth claimed the other first-place tallies.
Dominic Barry shined as a junior in 2016 rising to one of the top linebackers in the nation. His senior year is setting up to be even better.
He recently represented WNMU, along with fellow senior Javia Hall and Head Coach Adam Clark at the Lone Star Conference Media Day.
"Media Day was a unique experience for me. It was one of those things that every athlete has on their list of things to do before their career ends. It was shocking to see all of the cameras and microphones that were there waiting to hear you speak and see your face. All in all it was a blessing to represent WNMU and be considered an elite player next to all of the great athletes that were there."
Having been thrown right into the tough LSC last year, Barry is looking forward to having a second season in the conference after getting an up close look at what the conference was all about last year. Despite the tough odds stacked against the Mustangs, they showed they could play with anyone in 2016. WNMU fought back to within three of Tarleton State after falling behind by 21 points in the first quarter and the following week went toe-to-toe with at the time No. 9 Texas A&M-Commerce. A big victory over Angelo State came for the team at the end of October and after taking Texas A&M-Kingsville down to the wire, an improbable comeback by West Texas A&M in the season finale helped the Buffaloes escape Silver City with an overtime victory.
"The LSC was different to me, it was one of those conferences where one team did not just dominate the league. Every single week no matter what game you watched it went down to the wire! Take a look at every one of our games in the Lone Star last year, they were BATTLES!"
Every year gives both players and coaches a chance to review what worked and what didn't. Barry is looking forward to being able to analyze teams better and recognizing what each team's strengths are entering each contest.
"Going into year two there are a lot of hints that we are going to change. We will not just compete we will finish a lot of those games. We will fly to the ball more as a defense, we will cause more turnovers as a defense, as an offense we will finish a lot of drives, and continue to be a big numbers type of offense."
The WNMU offense proved it could pile up yards and points as the Mustangs averaged 26.5 points per game, but averaged over 400 yards per game. The Mustangs tallied up scoring games of 44, 68, 41 and 30 in four LSC games a year ago. In the win against Angelo State, it was a defensive battle with WNMU coming away with the 20-14 victory.
When Barry has a chance to reflect on everything, time has really flown by. Even though he spent his first season on campus as a redshirt, he is now entering his fifth and final season on the campus of WNMU and it is all coming full circle.
"Man time flew by. I remember yesterday I was just going into my first collegiate camp, scared and hungry all at once. I remember it was just my first collegiate start against the University of San Diego and I finished the game with only three tackles and a sack. The biggest thing that made me realize it is my senior season is that I will be having my senior day come this season, I will hear my name with a lot of recognition and thanks for my years here. I will be in tears not because my career would be over, but all of the friends and coaches that I have met playing at WNMU. I have a lot of pride being a Mustang and that will come to an end soon."
The Mustang defense had to deal with a lot last year with the size and ability of the LSC, but a fairly young defense had the chance to learn and grow together which should help the season with several key players back.
"I feel as if our defense can definitely contend to be the top defense in the conference, if not the nation. Our front seven especially, because we have a lot of guys coming in with a lot of football games under their belt. Not to say that our defensive backs will not be a threat, because they are far from untalented. Our defensive backs can fly. Last year as a passing defense we were ranked fairly high in the conference and that was because of them. I've seen guys that can do just about anything physically, but the only thing is that the experience is not there. The more and more games we play they will add to the arsenal of things they can do, and they will only get better. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish as a defense to set the tone for years to come."
The defense as a whole was opportunistic, forcing key turnovers when needed. The Mustangs tallied 12 forced fumbles, recovering 11, while adding 14 interceptions and 17 sacks. Each week, Barry was targeted by other teams as one of the players to stop on the WNMU defense. Yet, he was able to pile up staggering numbers that included 103 tackles, 39 solo, along with 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, four passes broken up, five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He had 11 or more tackles in all but four games during the 2016 season, going for a high of 14 against Tarleton State.
"It was well deserved and hard fought for (being one of the top linebackers in the nation). I can't take all of the glory, if it was not for my defensive backs playing such great coverage, teams would not be forced to run the ball. My defensive line, who keeps me clean as I'm making my read, I would not be able to make all of those tackles. I was devastated when I came out of the Eastern New Mexico game after the first drive because of injury. That is a linebackers dream as they run the ball over 100 times, and I wanted to be on the field helping my team to come through with the win. But to be considered one of the top tacklers in the nation was one of those feelings that drives you to wake up every morning."
With just one last summer to prepare in his career, Barry made sure to just focus on the basics to make sure he was ready for one last ride as a Mustang.
"There was nothing in particular that I worked on, I took things back to the basics. I wanted to completely start over and make the smaller things better so I can make more tackles and help put us in situations to win games. I also dropped a lot of my body fat percentage so that I can move better and run faster."
A usual question always comes up when the start of the season is imminent and that is goals that each player has heading into the season. For Barry, the opportunity and chance to win and compete for a championship always remain the top focus.
"I want to be the number one tackler in the nation this season. I want to go undefeated every single week we play. I want to be considered the best in my position. I want to be the Lone Star Conference Linebacker of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and I want to be named a First-Team All-Conference Linebacker. I have a lot of personal goals, but none of those trump how I want us to play as a team week in and week out. We will be the best we've ever been this year."
One thing is for certain is that Mustang fans can count on Barry being one of the top players week in and week out, helping WNMU try to achieve the highest goals possible by the end of the season.
The Western New Mexico University women's basketball team released their 2017-18 schedule as announced by second-year head coach Lauren Unger.
The Lady Mustangs will travel to Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas during the non-conference portion of the schedule, before returning home for their first game in Silver City right before Thanksgiving.
Having been one of the top Division I men’s volleyball players over the past few years, Jabarry Goodridge recently finished up his playing career at New Jersey Institute of Technology, will now become the new assistant volleyball coach as announced by Head Coach Jim Callender.
“Jabarry is a tremendous addition to our volleyball program. His resume speaks loud and clear of what success, hard work and dedication can bring to you in sport,” Callender said. “I wanted a high level player that wanted to get more involved with coaching. He is a shining star. He is passionate about the sport of volleyball and wants success for the program. His ability to demonstrate skills and the dedication needed to achieve high goals will be prevalent. Our present and future players will grow to amazing levels with him as our new assistant coach.”
For his career, Goodridge, originally from Bridgetown, Barbados, compiled 1,259 kills, averaging 3.98 per set, along with 104 service aces, 366 digs, 122 blocks and 1,450 total points over his four-year career. He posted career-highs in kills during his senior year with 407, after collecting a solid junior year with 390 kills. He sent back 56 blocks his junior year and he accounted for over 400 points both his junior (452.5) and senior year (472.5).
The honors rolled in for Goodridge as he was tabbed the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American second-team as a senior, after becoming NJIT’s first Division I-II player to claim AVCA All-American honors as a junior landing on the second-team. He also took home Uvaldo Acosta Memorial Player of the Year in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Goodridge ranked second in the nation in kills per set (4.43) and points per set (5.15) while sitting in the top-5 in attacks per set (9.08). He led the conference in overall kills (407), service aces (0.50) and ranked third in hitting percentage (.329).
In addition, Goodridge is a member of the Barbados Men’s National Team and is a coach for the Women’s Junior National Program in Barbados, while working with the U23 Women’s Program this summer.
Three new players are set to join the Western New Mexico University volleyball team this fall in Alanna Watt, Kijana Best and Sarai Migao as announced by Head Coach Jim Callender.
Watt, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter from Hague, Saskatchewan, transfers in from Feather River in Quincy, Calif., where she played beach volleyball this past season in helping the team to 14 victories and finished fourth in the state. Watt took home CCCAA Individual State Championship honors as she and her teammate Kim Austin placed third in the North. During the 2015 campaign she played at the University of Tennessee Martin posting three kills, a service ace, two digs and a block in seven sets. Watt began her career at Williston State College in Williston, N.D., collecting All-Conference honors. She played in 35 matches and accumulated 330 kills, averaged 3.36 kills per set and totaled 242 digs. Some of her prep honors included Conexus All-Star Team 2012, Athlete of the Year 2010-2013, Dons Fehr Award 2011-2013, Bronze medal at Provincials in track 2012-2013 Quad, Silver medal at Provincials in track 2012-2013 4x100 and Gold medal at Provincials in track 2011 4x100.
“Alanna is dynamic. She had a terrific junior college career at Feather River and led her team to the playoffs,” Callender said. “This past spring she competed in sand volleyball and qualified for the state championships. She is a terrific athlete and is a good leader as well. She thrives on competition and will be an explosive addition to our outside hitters this year.”
Best, a 5-foot-6 outside hitter, transfers in from the City College of San Francisco as she piled up the kills with 498, averaging 5.41 per set, which led to a .283 hitting percentage. She added 19 service aces, 295 digs and 10 total blocks in 26 matches and 92 sets played. Best went for 30 or more kills three times with a high of 32 against West Valley. She had 11 matches with at least 20 kills. She added 25 digs against Gavilan and had three matches with at least 20 digs. Her strong season earned her First-Team All-State and was second in the nation in kills per set. As a freshman in 2015, she played in 26 matches and 81 total sets compiling 345 kills, 4.26 per set, an incredible .402 hitting percentage, nine service aces, 261 digs and 37 total blocks.
“Kijana is an outstanding student-athlete. She was one of the premier outside hitters in the CCCA this past year,” Callender said. “She is a “terminator,” a great teammate and student as well. We will be relying on Kijana’s experience and ability this season to give us additional impact at the pins.”
Migao, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter from Temecula, Calif., played at Chaparral High School, where she held a 3.1 cumulative GPA and finished with a 3.5 mark her senior year. She was versatile for the team throughout her career, as she mainly played outside hitter, but also spent time at middle due to injuries on the team. Migao added over eight years of club volleyball, as her team made the Junior Olympics her sophomore year and ended up 13th in the nation. They reached the quarterfinals her junior and senior years. She played overseas in Italy during that same sophomore year attending the Easter Volley Tournament where they placed second.
“Sarai’s strength that she will bring to us is her versatility and athleticism,” Callender said. “She can play pretty much anywhere on the floor and she can hit a first-tempo quick set or hit the higher outside set. We can put her anywhere along the front line and have her compete as a young player. She has a lot of high level club experience and comes from a terrific club team and coaching staff. Sarai is a very aggressive player, and we look forward to her to compete in our gym and help take our program to the next level.”
WNMU will open the season on Sep. 1 in the Oredigger Classic in Golden, Colo.
Following the first season in the Lone Star Conference in 2016, the Western New Mexico University football team was tabbed to tie for eighth in the 2017 Preseason Poll that was released during the conference media day on Thursday.
Senior Harry Wetton and junior Ross White each earned Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American honors for their performances both on the course and in the classroom as announced by the GCAA.
To be eligible for Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50-percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke-average of under 78.0 and maintain a minimum cumulative career GPA of 3.2.
The Beat as a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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