Late rally comes up short as Lions fall to Mustangs in five
Texas A&M University-Commerce rallied back from an early 2-0 deficit to force a fifth and deciding set, but a late run by Midwestern State University thwarted the Lion comeback attack as A&M-Commerce fell 17-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 9-15 at the Field House.
Junior Breanne Snyder led the way offensively for A&M-Commerce with 14 kills on the night, hitting .312 for the Lions with 11 digs, four aces and a pair of blocks. Junior Amy Davault notched 12 kills while senior Kayla Bond added 10 kills and six blocks on the night.
Freshman Taryn Driver logged six kills on nine attempts with no errors for a career-best .667 hitting percentage, aided by her four blocks. Senior Ciara Holmes recorded five kills and five blocks, and Jordan Neal dished out 42 assists with 13 digs. Junior Michaela Spicer led the way defensively with 17 digs on the night for the Lions.
In the opening set, Midwestern State began to take control early, using a 7-0 run to build a commanding 15-8 lead midway through as Marissa Olivares registered five kills during the run. The Mustangs would push its advantage to as many as nine at 20-11 before settling in to take the opener 25-17.
A&M-Commerce grabbed an early lead in the second but watched as Midwestern State rallied back to tie the set at 11-11. Leading 12-11, the Mustangs reeled off four-straight service aces from Olivares, racing out to a 17-11 advantage.
The Lions would claw back to tie the set at 20-20, thanks to a pair of big blocks from Holmes and two kills from Davault, but it was Midwestern State that got the key points when it counted down the stretch, pulling away for the 25-22 victory in set two to claim the 2-0 lead.
With the match on the line in the third, A&M-Commerce found its groove, slowly pulling ahead of the Mustangs to lead it 14-9 midway through the set. Midwestern State would pull to within one at 16-15, but that was as close as the Mustangs would get as A&M-Commerce closed out the third on a 9-3 run, taking the crucial third set 25-18.
A&M-Commerce continued that momentum into the fourth, pulling ahead 14-10 at the midway point of the set behind some solid play from the Lions' front line. Midwestern State would rally, tying the set at 16-16, but just as it did in the third, A&M-Commerce closed out the set on a 9-3 run, pulling away to take the 25-19 victory and force the decisive fifth set.
Both the Lions and Mustangs exchanged points through the opening half of the fifth, leading up to a 7-7 draw. But Midwestern State found one last charge, outscoring A&M-Commerce 8-2 down the stretch and pulling away for the 15-9 victory to clinch the match.
The loss to the Mustangs snaps a three-match win streak as the two teams split the season series, each winning on the other's home court. A&M-Commerce falls to sixth in the LSC standings at 5-6, a half match behind fifth-place A&M-Kingsville and one match ahead of Midwestern State with five LSC contests remaining – four of which will take place at the Field House.
A&M-Commerce will have little time to think about the loss as the Lions turn around to face Cameron on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Field House. The Aggies are 6-18 on the year and 0-12 in LSC play. The opening serve is set for 7 p.m. Saturday evening.