MOMENT #7: FACING MATCH POINT, LIONS RALLY TO TAKE DOWN CARDINALS
The 2011-12 A&M-Commerce athletic season was filled with a number of impressive performance and memorable highlights achieved by the Lion student-athletes. To close out the athletic season, LionAthletics.com is looking back at the top-15 moments of the year, voted on by athletic administrators, media members and Lion fans. The moments will be revealed on Mondays and Thursdays, leading into the start of the 2012-13 A&M-Commerce athletic season.
COMMERCE, Texas – Volleyball has the honors of filling our #7 moment of the 2011-12 Top-15 countdown as head coach Craig Case's team compiled what proved to be one of the top comebacks of the season for A&M-Commerce.
With the 2011 season winding down, A&M-Commerce found itself in a battle for the final spot in the Lone Star Conference Volleyball Championships with four other teams, one of which was the Cardinals of Incarnate Word. Heading into their showdown at the Field House on October 27, the Lions trailed the Cardinals by one and a half matches and knew a loss to Incarnate Word could well eliminate any hopes of making the postseason.
The match started out grim for the Lions as after dropping a hard-fought first set 25-23, Incarnate Word caught fire midway through set two, taking a commanding 2-0 lead at intermission with a 25-17 victory in the second frame.
A&M-Commerce and Incarnate Word battled point for point in set three, but the Lions found themselves on the brink of being swept, trailing the Cardinals 24-23 late in set three with Incarnate Word getting set to serve for match point. But a kill from Breanne Snyder evened the set at 24-24 all, then Snyder recorded a pair of blocks, including a solo stop on set point to give the Lions new life with a 26-24 set three victory.
The surge from the freshman seemed to be the spark A&M-Commerce was looking for as the intensity level in the Field House rose dramatically, as did the authority of the kills in set four. Rachel Robertson showed why she was a first team All-LSC selection, taking over in sets four and five en route to a career-best 24-kill, 10-dig performance, the first double-double of her Lion career.
Snyder and fellow freshman Ezon Onditi added to the A&M-Commerce offensive attack, adding 14 kills each as the Lions fought off a late rally by Incarnate Word in set four to take the 25-23 win, forcing the decisive fifth set – a set in which A&M-Commerce dominated from the opening serve. The Lions used a 10-3 run to close out the match, powering past the Cardinals with the 15-5 clincher.
A number of Lions came up big in the victory as setter Jordan Neal dished out a career-best 65 assists, seven shy of the program's single-match record set by Jackie Orr in 2004. Kayla Bond had nine kills and five blocks for A&M-Commerce while Snyder (.364) and Robertson (.311) had a pair of the highest hitting percentages of the season for the Lions as Snyder also notched a career-high with 22 digs.
While A&M-Commerce ultimately fell one match short of qualifying for the LSC Championships, the way the Lions finished the 2011 season provided an exciting glimpse into the future. Case's squad returns the entire starting rotation as not a single player was lost to graduation, including Robertson and Neal, both of which are two-time All-LSC selections. Add to that a group of talented newcomers and Case is already counting down the days to the start of the 2012 campaign at the Field House.
A&M-Commerce Top-15 Moments Countdown Schedule
Moment #1 - Thursday, August 2
Moment #2 - Monday, July 30
Moment #3 - Thursday, July 26
Moment #4 - Monday, July 23
Moment #5 - Thursday, July 19
Moment #6 - Monday, July 16
Moment #7 - Facing Match Point, Volleyball Rallies to Take Down Incarnate Word 3-2
Moment #8 - Chantry McMahan Finishes Second at LSC Golf Championships
Moment #9 - Men's Cross Country Ties Best Finish in Program History at LSC Championships
Moment #10 - Track and Field Notches A Pair of LSC Individual Champions
Moment #11 - Men's Basketball Wins Final Three Games to Qualify for LSC Tournament
Moment #12 - Football Takes to the Turf at Cowboys Stadium
Moment #13 - Pair of Men's Golfers Capture Individual Tournament Titles
Moment #14 - Women's Track and Field Sets Three School Records
Moment #15 - Women's Basketball Upsets Angelo State 64-61 in Season Finale