The Tyler Junior College volleyball and soccer teams are preparing for national tournaments.

Apache Ladies volleyball coach Ronda Shirley, in her fourth season at TJC, must plan a travel schedule, while soccer coach Steve Clements, in his 11th season in ApacheLand, and his Apaches get to play on their home turf.


The No. 2-ranked Apache Ladies (31-4) will head to Casper, Wyo., site of the national tournament, which is scheduled for Nov. 21-23.

It is the third appearance for TJC at nationals. Last year, the tournament was held in West Plains, Mo. The Apache Ladies had a 3-1 record and finished fifth in the nation.

“I am so happy for the sophomores to be able to go to back-to-back national tournaments,” Shirley said.

The sophomores include Kaitlyn Brooks (5-9 setter, Sugar Land), Malicia Fluellen (5-10 middle blocker, Channelview), Ashleigh Overhoff (5-6 setter, Kingwood), Jacqueline Perez (5-4 defender, Baytown), Hannah Robey (5-5 defender, Longview) and Jordan McArdle (5-11 outside hitter, Crosby).

The freshmen include Jovana Biocanin (6-0 outside setter, Lazarevac, Serbia), Veronica Santi (6-0 middle blocker, Perugia, Italy), Morgan Lewis (6-1 middle blocker, Wichita Falls), Abby Mackey (5-10 outside hitter, Overton), Cheyenne Spell (5-4 defender, Diana), Rilee Miller (5-7 defender, Tyler), Kat Hauger (6-1 middle blocker), Cedar Park), Savannah Cantrell (5-11 middle blocker, Lindale), Emily Shelton (5-9 setter, Longview) and Weronika Wiezik (6-1 outside hitter, Silesia, Poland).


Clements and the Apaches will not only be hosting the national tournament, but also participating.

Clements has led TJC to five straight national tournaments, including winning three of the last four national championships.

The tournament gets underway on Monday. Pool play is scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The semifinals are set for Friday (5 and 7 p.m.), with the championship on Saturday (6 p.m.). All games are slated for Pat Hartley Soccer Complex.

TJC (16-2) is the No. 2 seed, while Iowa Western (21-0) is No. 1. Twelve teams are entered. The other seeds after TJC are San Jacinto-South (18-1), Yavapai (Ariz.) (18-2-4), Eastern Florida State (13-1-2), Cincinnati State (17-1-2), ASA (N.Y.) (11-1-2), Lewis & Clark (Ill.) (14-5-3), Burlington County (N.J.) (15-2-2), Cloud County (Kan.) (13-9-0), Community College of Baltimore County-Essex (Md.) (10-4-4) and Ranger (8-9-1).

The Apaches are in Pool B. Their games are set for 5:30 p.m. Monday (CCBC-Essex) and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (ASA).

A tournament pass is $30. Day passes are $10 (adults), $3 (students with ID) and children under 14 get in free.


There are a number of schedule changes in the three-day Sleep Inn & Suites Men’s & Women’s Basketball Classic at Wagstaff Gymnasium. TJC assistant athletic director Chuck Smith said due to NJCAA ejection policies, the Arkansas Baptist women’s team will not have enough eligible players available for their first two games of the classic.

“We have kept them on the schedule but have moved some other games around in order to not have gaps in game times,” Smith said.

The tourney begins today and continues through Saturday.

The Apache Ladies enter with a 3-0 mark, while the Apaches are 3-1.

Both the TJC and KC women pick up forfeit wins from Arkansas Baptist. Jacksonville will play the Arkansas squad at 11 a.m. Saturday.


Sleep Inn & Suites Classic

Wagstaff Gymnasium

Thursday’s Games


Jacksonville vs. Weatherford, 2 p.m.

Collin County vs. Kilgore, 4 p.m.


Weatherford vs. Texas Riders, 6 p.m.



Jacksonville vs. Collin County, 2 p.m.

Tyler vs. Weatherford, 4 p.m.


Kilgore vs. Weatherford,6 p.m.

Tyler vs. Northwestern State JV, 8 p.m.



Jacksonville vs. Arkansas Baptist, 11 a.m.

Kilgore vs. Weatherford, 1 p.m.

Tyler vs. Collin County, 3 p.m.


Tyler vs. Weatherford, 5 p.m.

Kilgore vs. Northwestern State JV, 7 p.m.


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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.