LIONS SWEEP WILDCATS FOR FIRST WIN IN ABILENE SINCE 1995
A&M-Commerce 3, Abilene Christian 0
Location: Moody Coliseum · Abilene, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (17-7, 8-6 LSC); Abilene Christian (9-15, 5-9 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Cameron · Friday, October 26 · 5 p.m. · The Field House
ABILENE, Texas – A&M-Commerce made sure its final trip to Moody Coliseum for the forseeable future was a memorable one as the Lions outlasted Abilene Christian 25-23, 25-23, 30-28, notching its first win in Abilene since the 1995 season. The Lions also snapped a four-match losing skid to the Wildcats, improving to 17-7 overall and 8-6 in Lone Star Conference action.
"This was definitely one of the most exciting matches I've been involved in since I've been here," said head coach Craig Case. "After falling behind early in that first set, our team began to play at probably the highest level I've seen them play. We got every crucial point in every crucial moment, and it was incredible to watch this team respond the way they did. Abilene Christian is a very talented and very good team, and this was a big win for this program."
A&M-Commerce was led by senior middle blocker Rachel Robertson, who put together one of the best games of her collegiate career. Robertson finished with a career-high 25 kills in the victory, recording just four errors on 44 attempts and hitting an impressive .477 for the match. She also added an assist, a dig and a pair of solo blocks, pacing the Lions to the three-set sweep.
Kayla Bond notched eight kills for A&M-Commerce with Jordan Neal adding four to go along with her 39 assists, 11 digs, three blocks and pair of service aces. The sophomore duo of Ezon Onditi and Breanne Snyder each added three kills apiece with Michaela Spicer leading the way defensively with 19 digs.
With Abilene Christian getting set to make the jump to Division I in 2013, the Wildcats were looking to close out its series with A&M-Commerce on a positive note, racing out to a 16-10 lead early in the first set. The Lions slowly began to chip away at the lead, but the Wildcats seemed to be in control, leading 20-16. But Robertson began to catch fire late in the first set, notching six kills in the final nine points as the Lions rallied to take the opener 25-23.
The second set saw A&M-Commerce jump out to the early lead, holding a four-point cushion over Abilene Christian at 14-10. The Wildcats rallied back, tying the set at 15-15 and again at 22-22, but Abilene Christian was never able to overtake the Lions as with A&M-Commerce leading 24-23, Bond closed out the second with a big kill as the Lions took a 2-0 lead with a 25-23 decision.
But the opening two sets were just a prelude to the third, which played out to be one of the most exciting of the season for A&M-Commerce. The Lions and Wildcats battled the entire way, combining for 22 ties and 12 lead changes with Abilene Christian looking as if it would take control late, building a 23-20 advantage.
Both teams had their chances to take the pivotal third set as Abilene Christian was serving for set point three times while A&M-Commerce had the Wildcats facing match point three times of its own. Trailing Abilene Christian 28-27, Morgan Moeller picked a great time to record her only two kills of the night. Moeller's first kill evened the set at 28-28, then following a Wildcat hitting error, Moeller's second kill proved to be the match-winner as the Lions outlasted Abilene Christian for a 30-28 third-set victory.
The victory keeps A&M-Commerce in sole possession of fifth place in the Lone Star Conference standings and also put some distance between the Lions and their pursuers. A&M-Commerce pulled to within two matches of fourth-place Texas Woman's while extending their lead to three matches over the Wildcats, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Incarnate Word who are in a three-way tie at 5-9.
With the final extended road trip of the season now in its rearview mirror, A&M-Commerce prepares for the stretch run of the 2012 season, and couldn't ask for a better scenario. Five of the Lions' final six matches of the season will be on the court at the Field House, beginning this weekend with a pair of Homecoming Week clashes. A&M-Commerce hosts Cameron on Friday, October 26 at 5 p.m., followed by a showdown with Midwestern State at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 27.