LIONS PUSH NINTH-RANKED RAMBELLES TO THE WIRE BEFORE FALLING, 3-2
No. 9 Angelo State 3, A&M-Commerce 2
Location: The Field House • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (20-9, 11-8 LSC); Angelo State (25-3, 18-1 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Tarleton State • Saturday, November 10 • 7 p.m.
COMMERCE, Texas – Rachel Robertson had an historic night and A&M-Commerce gave ninth-ranked Angelo State all it could handle, but ultimately the Lions fell 12-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 11-15 at the Field House Friday evening. The loss drops A&M-Commerce to 20-9 overall and 11-8 in Lone Star Conference play.
Heading into the evening, Robertson needed just three kills to move into third all-time in program history for career kills. After recording two in the opening set, she posted her third early in the second set, moving past Alice Fortes into sole possession of third-place. Robertson finished with 17 kills on the evening, upping her career total to 1,342. She hit .297 with five blocks and six digs to pace the Lions.
Ezon Onditi also came up big on the evening, finishing with 12 kills on 47 attempts with seven digs while Kayla Bond added eight kills. Jordan Neal and Breanne Snyder each posted four kills with Neal adding 37 assists and 13 digs while Snyder had four aces and seven digs of her own.
Defensively, Michaela Spicer led the way with 16 kills, upping her season total to 507 and becoming the fourth player in program history to surpass 500 digs in a single season. She was helped out by 14 digs from Haley Richburg and the 13 from Neal with Dakota Crockett finishing with eight.
Angelo State, who would clinch the regular season Lone Star Conference title with a win, looked as if it would make quick work of the Lions early in the match, recording the first 13 points of the opening set and putting A&M-Commerce behind the eight-ball early. The Rambelles didn't let up, hitting .545 in the opener to cruise to the 25-12 victory.
Angelo State claimed another lead early in the second, racing out to a 7-1 lead and holding on to the momentum gained in the first. But A&M-Commerce found its spark, beginning to slowly chip away at the Rambelle advantage, using a 5-0 run to pull in front 17-14. It was a lead they would not relinquish as the Lions claimed the second 25-21, evening the match at one set apiece at intermission.
The Rambelles seemed to refind that momentum they had early in the match, building an eight point advantage at 17-9 before closing out the third 25-19. But once again A&M-Commerce responded as after falling behind early in the fourth, the Lions recovered to claim the lead at 15-12. Angelo State would pull back in front 19-16 off a 7-1 run of its own, but A&M-Commerce would notch nine of the final 12 points, capped by a block from Neal and Robertson to upend the Rambelles 25-22 and force the decisive fifth set.
The opening part of the fifth played out in the same manner as the previous four as Angelo State opened up an early lead at 8-4, but this time the Lions were unable to rally back. The closest A&M-Commerce was able get to staging the upset was pulling to within two at 12-10 off a kill by Onditi. But the Rambelles would tally three of the final four points, escaping the Field House with the 3-2 win and wrapping up the LSC regular season title.
The 50th meeting between A&M-Commerce and Angelo State proved to be a classic, but in the end it was the Rambelles that extended their winning streak over the Lions to seven matches, holding a 31-19 edge in the all-time series. A pair of Rambelles finished with 20 or more kills, highlighted by 25 from Kaelen Valdez and 20 from Maddie Huth.
A&M-Commerce closes out the 2012 regular season Saturday evening when it hosts Tarleton State at the Field House. The TexAnns defeated Texas Woman's 3-2 Friday night in Denton, snapping a three-match losing streak and moving the TexAnns and Pioneers into a tie for third in the LSC standings. A&M-Commerce, which has clinched the five-seed, will face either Tarleton State or Texas Woman's in the first round of the LSC tournament, setting up Saturday's season finale as a possible first round preview.
With Saturday's match signaling the end of the regular season, it also marks Senior Night as Morgan Moeller, Haley Richburg, Rachel Robertson and Chelsea Simonton will be playing in their final matches at the Field House. Senior night recognitions get underway Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by the match with Tarleton State immediately after. The game will have live video and live statistics available at LionAthletics.com.