A&M-Commerce volleyball had a memorable season in 2012 as the Lions reached the 20-win plateau, finishing 20-11 while notching a fifth-place finish in the LSC standings. A&M-Commerce posted an 11-9 record in conference play, advancing to the conference tournament for the first time since 2009. The Lions had a habit of making quick work of their opponents in 2012 as 15 of their 20 victories were in 3-0 sweeps.
Lions Top 20-Win Plateau
A&M-Commerce saw a marked improvement in 2012, finishing the year with a 20-11 record, a nine-win improvement from 2011 which signifies the largest win differential in the Lone Star Conference. It marked the first time since 2009 and just the third time since 2002 that A&M-Commerce closed out the year with 20 or more victories. Part of the success for the Lions was their ability to take care of business at home, posting an 8-4 mark at the Field House, including an eight-match winning streak spanning nearly two months.
Case Sets New Single-Season Win Milestone
Head coach Craig Case continued to establish himself as one of the LSC's top young coaches, leading A&M-Commerce to a nine-win improvement from 2011. The 20 victories surpasses Case's previous single-season high wins mark of 16, set in 2006 at Valley City State, as he notched his 100th career victory in the 3-0 victory against Midwestern State on October 27. He now has compiled a 45-43 record in his three years at A&M-Commerce (.511) and is 101-134 in his eight years as a head coach.
Robertson Named LSC Offensive Player of the Year
2012 proved to be a career year for senior middle blocker Rachel Robertson, who was honored as the Lone Star Conference's Offensive Player of the Year. Robertson made her mark in the conference, finishing first in the LSC in hitting percentage (.377), kills per set (3.80) and points per set (4.48), becoming the only player in the LSC to lead the conference in three different categories. She was a three-time LSC Offensive Player of the Week and was a first team All-LSC selection for the second-straight year.
Four Lions Recognized As All-Conference Honorees
Following the success of the A&M-Commerce volleyball season, four Lions were recognized for their contributions by the Lone Star Conference. Senior middle blocker Rachel Robertson was named a first team All-LSC selection for the second-straight year while junior setter Jordan Neal was tabbed a second team honoree for the third time in her career. Sophomore middle blocker Breanne Snyder also received All-LSC honors, being named to the honorable mention team. Academically, a pair of Lions were recognized for their work not just on the court but in the classroom as Robertson and junior right side hitter Kayla Bond were named to the LSC Volleyball All-Academic team.
Robertson Closes Her Career Among All-Time Greats
The 2012 season started off on a positive note for senior middle blocker Rachel Robertson and ended it as one of the Lions' all-time greats. Robertson recorded her 1,000th career kill in the victory over Ouachita Baptist and closed out her storied time in a Lion uniform with 1,359 career kills, sitting third all-time in program history. On the year, Robertson tallied a .377 hitting percentage, the second-highest single-season total in A&M-Commerce history, while posting 407 kills, 23 service aces and 84 blocks.
Neal Continues To Etch Her Name in Lion Record Book
Junior setter Jordan Neal continued to make her mark in the A&M-Commerce volleyball record book, putting up arguably her best season in a Lion uniform in 2012. Neal posted 1,124 assists on the year – a new personal-best and the ninth-best performance in program history. She is just the fourth player in program history to notch back-to-back 1,000 assist seasons and finished the season fourth in the Lone Star Conference in assists per set (10.50) and second in service aces per set (0.36), recording an LSC-best 39 on the season.
Spicer Has Solid Debut Season for A&M-Commerce
Sophomore libero Michaela Spicer assumed the role as the Lions' primary libero in 2012 and helped anchor A&M-Commerce's back court. Spicer finished the year with a team-high 539 digs, becoming just the fourth player in program history to surpass 500 digs in a season and recording the seventh-best single-season performance. Spicer averaged 5.04 digs per set, ranking fifth in the LSC, while earning her first LSC Defensive Player of the Week nod on October 16.
A&M-Commerce LSC Players of the Week
Through the course of the 2012 season, three different Lions racked up eight Lone Star Conference weekly accolades. Junior setter Jordan Neal led the way being named the LSC Co-Setter of the Week four times (Sept. 4; Sept. 18; Oct. 16 and Oct. 30) while senior middle blocker Rachel Robertson was the conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Week three times (Sept. 4; Sept. 11 and Oct. 30). Sophomore libero Michaela Spicer was also recognized, being named the Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 16.
2012 Key Lion Victories
• A&M-Commerce 3, Ouachita Baptist 2 (Sept. 7): The Lions rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the final two games against Ouachita Baptist at the Tarleton Volleyball Invitational, improving to 5-0 on the year. Rachel Robertson recorded 20 kills in the victory, notching her 1,000th career kill in the process.
• A&M-Commerce 3, Midwestern State 1 (Sept. 28): Embarking on a four-game LSC road trip, A&M-Commerce shook off a sluggish opening set to take the next three against the Mustangs, taking the 3-1 win in Wichita Falls. It gave A&M-Commerce 12 wins on the year, surpassing its win total in 2011.
• A&M-Commerce 3, Abilene Christian 0 (Oct. 23): In one of the most impressive matches of the season, A&M-Commerce outlasted Abilene Christian 25-23, 25-23, 30-28 at Moody Coliseum, rallying late in each set to notch its first victory in Abilene since 1994. Rachel Robertson had the match of her career, finishing with a career-best 25 kills while hitting .477.
• A&M-Commerce 3, Midwestern State 0 (Oct. 27): A&M-Commerce continued to roll in LSC play, dominating Midwestern State 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 to sweep the season series against the Mustangs. The win gave head coach Craig Case his 100th career victory.
• A&M-Commerce 3, Abilene Christian 1 (Nov. 2): The Lions' 20th and final win of the season was another entertaining affair as A&M-Commerce dominated the first and fourth sets to defeat Abilene Christian 25-10, 25-23, 25-27, 25-12 at the Field House. The Lions closed out their 30-year rivalry with the Wildcats with a 29-26 mark against Abilene Christian.