LIONS CLOSE OUT 2012 SEASON WITH 3-1 DEFEAT IN LSC QUARTERFINALS
Texas Woman's 3, A&M-Commerce 1
2012 Lone Star Conference Quarterfinals
Location: Stephens Arena • San Angelo, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (20-11); Texas Woman's (23-7)
SAN ANGELO, Texas – A&M-Commerce's historic 2012 season came to a close Thursday night as the Lions dropped a 19-25, 17-25, 25-23, 18-25 decision to Texas Woman's in the Lone Star Conference quarterfinals at Stephens Arena. A&M-Commerce closes out the season with a 20-11 overall record, finishing 11-9 in Lone Star Conference play.
With the close of the season, it also marks the end of senior middle blocker Rachel Robertson's career as well. The 2012 LSC Offensive Player of the Year, Robertson went out in style against the Pioneers, recording 11 kills and five blocks, along with a pair of digs. She finishes the season with a .377 hitting percentage, the second-highest single-season total in program history, and finishes her time in a Lion uniform with 1,359 career kills, ranking third all-time.
Sophomore Breanne Snyder, an All-LSC honorable mention selection, led the way for A&M-Commerce on the evening, posting 16 kills on 39 swings, hitting .333, with three blocks and five digs. Fellow sophomore Ezon Onditi also proved to be a key offensive force for the Lions, posting 12 kills on 47 attemptsa with five digs and a block.
Kayla Bond added five kills for A&M-Commerce with Chelsee Hudson finishing with three. Junior setter Jordan Neal, who was named a second team All-LSC selection for the third-straight season, finished with 40 assists, upping her season total to 1,124 helpers, which ranks ninth in program history in the single-season assist total. Neal also posted 11 digs to finish the season with a double-double.
Defensively, Michaela Spicer finished with 21 digs to up her season total to 539, going down as the seventh-best single-season total. Haley Richburg also had a strong showing in the final match of her A&M-Commerce career, notching a match-best four service aces with eight digs for the Lions.
After dropping the first two matches of the year to Texas Woman's, A&M-Commerce was looking to make the third time a charm against the Pioneers at the LSC tournament. But Texas Woman's once again jumped out to quick leads in both the first and second sets, leading 18-11 in the opener and 16-9 in the second, holding off A&M-Commerce to take a commanding 2-0 lead following the 25-19 and 25-17 decisions.
With the season hanging in the balance, A&M-Commerce began to find its groove in the third, matching Texas Woman's point-for-point through the duration. After combining for 16 ties and eight lead changes, the Lions and Pioneers found themselves deadlocked at 22-22. A kill by Bond and an attack error by Texas Woman's had the Lions serving for set point, which would be achieved off a kill from Onditi, sealing the third 25-23 and giving new life to the Lions.
That momentum carried over into the early portion of the fourth as A&M-Commerce raced to a 6-2 lead, forcing a Texas Woman's timeout. That seemed to regroup the Pioneers as they put together an extended 15-6 run, taking a commanding 17-12 lead and never looking back, winning their third-straight over A&M-Commerce with a 25-18 fourth set decision.
It closes out what was a memorable season for the Lions as A&M-Commerce saw a nine-win improvement in 2012, notching 20 wins compared to 11 in 2011. 15 of the Lions' 20 victories were three-set sweeps as A&M-Commerce earned the fifth overall seed in the Lone Star Conference tournament. The Lions now set their sights on the 2013 season, one that should continue the success A&M-Commerce has experienced as the majority of the starting lineup returns intact.