NACOGDOCHES, Texas – While exhibition matches don’t count in terms of wins and losses, sometimes their importance is equally as great as matches that do.
That was the case on Saturday for Northwestern State as it played former Southland rival Stephen F. Austin in the final game-like simulation before opening day of less than a week away.
“It’s not a science but the way I see it there are three main ways to go about scheduling exhibition matches – convenience, you plan on it being a win or you challenge yourself,” head coach Sean Kiracofe said. “I wanted to challenge this group so we can figure out exactly what we need to work on before we get too close to conference.”
When the 11-time Southland Conference champions are just a short two-hour drive away, convenience and challenge made Saturday’s exhibition a no-brainer for the Lady Demons.
SFA took all five sets on the day, but it was the assessment of where his team stood in preparation for the Aug. 26th opener and how they would respond after a modest outing in Wednesday’s scrimmage that was at the forefront of Kiracofe’s mind.
“I did see an improvement from Wednesday with a level of intensity and fight,” he said. “That’s expected when you get to play another team for the first time but it’s always good to see it happen.”
Like they did in Prather Coliseum earlier in the week, the Lady Demons had moments of inspired offense and defense as the players continue to build the same rapport they have off the court on it.
“As a coach I got everything I wanted out of this match,” he said. “I know we can score against a big, physical block and good defense and I know we can block and defend against athletic attackers. Then best of all, we have quality game film on any weaknesses that SFA exploited, which is only going to help us get better faster.”
The Lady Demons have just a handful of practices remaining before the 2022 season officially begins with matches against ULM and Tarleton State next Friday.
Photo: Hunter Overholt, SFA Athletics