A&M-Commerce 3, Abilene Christian 1
Location: The Field House • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (20-8, 11-7 LSC); Abilene Christian (10-17, 6-11 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Angelo State • Friday, November 9 • 7 p.m.
COMMERCE, Texas – Sparked by a dominating first set and a season-best 15 blocks, A&M-Commerce made its final match against Abilene Christian a memorable one, upending the Wildcats 25-10, 25-23, 25-27, 25-12 at the Field House. The win gives the Lions their 20th win on the season, marking A&M-Commerce's first 20-win season since 2009 and its second since 2002.
Coming off her 25 kill performance against the Wildcats last week, Rachel Robertson had another solid performance, posting 17 kills with a .412 hitting percentage, eight digs and three blocks. She upped her career kill total to 1,325, needing just three more kills to move past Alice Fortes into third all-time in program history.
Kayla Bond proved to be the second half of the dynamic duo as well as the junior finished with eight kills and a career-best eight blocks, including three solo. Ezon Onditi added eight kills of her own with three blocks as Breanne Snyder posted five kills, three aces and seven digs to help the A&M-Commerce offensive attack.
Ciara Holmes added four kills for the Lions while Jordan Neal dished out 37 assists, upping her season total to 1,031 and becoming just the fourth player in program history to notch back-to-back 1,000 assist seasons. She also added 10 digs and four blocks for the double-double.
In addition to the season-high 15 blocks, the A&M-Commerce defense was led by Michaela Spicer's 20 digs, upping her season total to 491, which is the seventh-best single-season performance in program history. She needs just nine more to become the fourth player in program history to reach 500 digs in a single season.
Looking to feed off its emotional 3-0 victory over Abilene Christian last week in Abilene, the Lions picked up right where they left off in the opening set. With the set tied 5-5 early on, A&M-Commerce caught fire, outscoring the Wildcats 20-5 to take the dominating first set victory, hitting .429 in the opening stanza compared to a -.222 for Abilene Christian.
But despite the impressive performance in the opener, Abilene Christian found its groove early in the second, racing out to a 10-2 lead. A&M-Commerce began to slowly chip away at the Wildcat lead, eventually pulling even at 20-20 after stringing together a 4-0 run. With the set tied at 21-21, the Lions once again notched the key points when it counted, taking the 25-23 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead into intermission.
The Lions established an early lead in the third and both A&M-Commerce traded points for the majority as the Lions were never able to shake the Wildcats. Tied 22-22, Abilene Christian was serving for set point at 24-23, only to see A&M-Commerce rip off two-straight as the Lions were serving for match point at 25-24. But this time it was the Wildcats that notched the crucial points, stealing the third 27-25 to extend the match to four, a first for a match at the Field House this season.
But the momentum that A&M-Commerce found in the first set, it found again in the fourth. Once again the set was tied 5-5 in the early going, but once again it was the Lions that found its groove, outscoring the Wildcats 20-7 down the stretch to seal the match with a 25-12 fourth-set decision.
The victory for A&M-Commerce improved the Lions to 8-2 at the Field House this season as A&M-Commerce has ripped off eight straight victories on its home court. The Lions also won its second-straight against Abilene Christian, closing out what had been a thrilling rivalry spanning over 30 years. A&M-Commerce finishes its series with the Wildcats holding a 29-26 all-time advantage, including a 12-6 record against Abilene Christian in Commerce.
Two games remain in the regular season for A&M-Commerce, who officially secured the number five seed in the Lone Star Conference tournament with the victory. The Lions will put their impressive home record to the test, closing out the regular season with a pair of Lone Star Conference heavyweights, beginning with a date with conference-leading Angelo State Friday, November 9.
A&M-Commerce then faces second-place Tarleton State on Saturday, November 10 with the four Lion seniors being recognized prior to the match on Senior Night. Both matches get underway at 7 p.m. with live video and live stats of both matches available at LionAthletics.com.