Tournament to test stamina

The Horned Frog volleyball team said it is ready for the break from the conference circuit that will come this weekend when it plays in the UT-Pan American Tournament. “I think it will help us in the long run because it will give us a break from the pressure of conference,” said senior middle blocker Erin Estep.

The team has already played each conference team once, except Colorado State, and head coach Prentice Lewis said the tournament is a great break to divide the two rounds of conference play.

The team will travel to Edinburg on Saturday to play Prairie View A&M and Texas-Pan American.

Players said they are well conditioned to handle the strain of playing two games in one day.

“Our team is already conditioned for it based on the training we’ve already had,” Estep said. “Preseason consists of many tournaments, so we’re prepared.”

The team’s record is 12-9 overall and 2-5 in Mountain West Conference play.

Although Estep said the team has struggled in the past couple away games, she said she feels optimistic about the rest of the season.

“Now we have one round under our belts,” Estep said. “Our team has a lot of potential and young talent.”

Sophomore outside hitter Talaya Whitfield said part of the challenge is working with the dynamics of the team.

“It started off slow,” Whitfield said. “We’re just getting used to playing with each other, and we’re just trying to have fun.”

With nine conference games left, team members said they hope their hard work and dedication will pay off.

“Everybody stepped up in their game,” Whitfield said. “We all do a little extra.”

Estep said she expects the team to pull together for two wins this weekend.

“(Our expectations are) having a focus as a team and our offence having smart shots,” Estep said.

Following this weekend’s game, the volleyball team’s schedule consists of entirely conference matches.