MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Head coach Steve Hendricks has pulled out the radar gun repeatedly on his players. Not because of any speeding tickets, but rather to track their serving.
The goal is to get his volleyball team to serve 35-plus miles per hour. Effectively. Each serve.
After matching the school record for aces in a match -- the Buccaneers had 17 against Christian Brothers at the South Region Crossover Friday -- Barry has the gas pedal on to begin each point. That will be the goal again Wednesday when the Bucs (8-9, 1-5 Sunshine State Conference) return to league play to host Florida Tech (13-6, 3-3) at 7 p.m. in Health & Sports Center.
"It's helping us be successful in taking teams out of system," Hendricks said of his team's serving, which leads the SSC in aces per set.
Barry begins a four-match homestand when the Panthers visit HSC. Thirteen student-athletes who received a 4.0 grade point average in the spring will be honored, along with other academic honor roll student-athletes during the second- and third-set intermission of Wednesday's match.
The Bucs also host Eckerd (11-8, 2-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday.
"We're happy to be in front of our fans and Bucky's Crew," Hendricks said, somewhat alarmed that over half the season has elapsed. "I think we're all excited to be home."
Of course, it elapsed on a good stretch in Pensacola when the Bucs went 3-1, dropping only a five-set match and taking down No. 19 West Florida while sweeping two other South Region opponents.
"We talked about how we turned a corner this weekend," Hendricks said. "Florida Tech's talented, and they play a fast game. We know we have to do well in our conference to reach our goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament."
The Bucs turned the corner when its hitting came alive. In three of the four matches, Barry had at least three players record double figures in kills. Jayla Trombley, who was medically cleared to play at 100 percent, averaged 11 kills per match and had a career-best six blocks in Friday's first match. She also hit .562 in the sweep of Valdosta State.
Tashalyn Begon was also given the go to play without reservation. She had seven kills and hit .462 in the win over Valdosta State. Both Begon and Trombley gave the Bucs more versatility on offense.
"Part of it was being dictated by them being cleared," Hendricks said. "That was a huge difference on the weekend. It's the first time the team's really seen Jayla hit away."
Coupled with Jenny Trinidad's command of the offense and Jasmine Serna's ability to play defense and set, Barry's offense is now seeing signs of the designs Hendricks and assistant Katie McCrath had in mind.
"Jas is a great libero and a good setter," Hendricks said. "Jenny has developed very quickly. She was phenomenal this weekend."
UP NEXT: Barry University returns to Sunshine State Conference play to begin a four-match homestand over the next two weeks ... The Buccaneers have won three in a row, which included a win over No. 19 West Florida to snap the Argonauts eight-match win streak, all by 3-0 sweeps.
EYES ON OPPONENTS: Florida Tech has lost 4 of its last 5 ... The Panthers endured two tough five-set losses during that stretch ... FIT’s top hitters are Charlie French (210 kills, .177 attack pct) and Kim Juriga (195 K, .214) ... The Panthers’ utilize two setters, Milicia Tapuskovic (6.6 assists/set) and Ashtin Truesdale (8.43) ... Kaitlin Brennan (61 blocks), Alea Hamm (56) and Juriga (55) are the net protectors ... Angie Lassman is FIT’s leader in digs (5.0/set).
WHO HOLDS RANK?: Barry has knocked off a top-25 nationally-ranked opponent in each of the last two years ... In 2012, the Bucs beat No. 18 Lewis in a five-set thriller during the opening weekend of the season ... Last weekend, Barry beat No. 19 West Florida in four sets.
ACES ARE WILD: Barry’s 2.00 aces per set leads the SSC ... Florida Tech is fourth at 1.60 ... Bucs Fr. S Jenny Trinidad leads the league at .48 aces per set ... Barry had a school-record 17 aces vs. Christian Brothers and 11 more in the upset win over No. 19 West Florida.
JAMMIN’ WITH JAYLA: Jr. OH Jayla Trombley is coming off her most impressive weekend performance since she became a Buccaneer ... Trombley had 44 kills in the four matches, and hit .562 in the sweep of Valdosta St. ... She had a career-best six blocks against Christian Brothers.
DIGGIN’ IT: The Bucs outdug their past two opponents in each match, 54-38 and 40-36, respectively ... Barry has had more digs than the opposition five times this year ... Florida Tech has outdug its opponent in 14 of the 20 matches.
CARRERO’S TORPEDOS: Sr. OH Ashley Carrero has recorded double-digit kills in three straight matches ... She has double figures in six matches this year ... Her career-high is 27 kills vs. Nova Southeastern on Oct. 2, 2012.
HENDRICKS’ THREE-YEAR TERM: Since Steve Hendricks took over as head coach at Barry, the Bucs have a 36-39 overall record ... The Bucs are 13-25 in the SSC during that stretch.