In the second semifinal of the Lone Star Conference Tournament, West Texas A&M and Texas A&M University-Commerce played a thrilling five set affair for a spot in the championship match on Saturday afternoon. The Lions were unable to end their nine match-losing streak to the Lady Buffs.
A&M-Commerce was just the second team all season to push the Lady Buffs to a fifth set. The Lions won the first set 25-21, dropped the second set by the same score, won the third 27-25, dropped the fourth 25-19 and came up just two points short in set five, 15-13.
Amy Davault led the Lions with 17 kills and 17 digs for her 20th double-double of the season. Ezon Onditi had 15 kills for the Lions and hit .205. Ciara Holmes recorded 12 kills and added three block assists.
West Texas A&M started the match with five in a row and six of the first eight points. The Lions kept fighting and kept the Lady Buffs in striking distance, down only one after an attack error from the Lady Buffs at 12-11.
The Lady Buffs extended the lead to 15-11 before the Lions started to chip away and eventually took the lead off an error from West Texas. An ace from Spicer gave the Lions a 21-19 lead. The two teams traded points before the Lions closed the set on a three nothing run with a kill from Snyder and two more attack errors from West Texas.
In set two the Lady Buffs got out on a big lead early again, up 9-3 with the help of a few Lion miscues. The lead got to as many as nine at 13-4 off two errors from A&M-Commerce. The Lions then battled back to tie the set at 14 all before the Lady Buffs answered with a three nothing run to take a 17-14 lead. The two teams went back and forth for the remaining points in the set but the Lions could not pull even and West Texas scored the last two points to take set two 25-21.
The third set saw the Lions reserve the trend and get a lead of their own thanks to two kills from Onditi to take a 6-2 lead. WT would eventually tie the score at eight and nine all. The Lions then responded with a four nothing run, capped by a Holmes kill to take a 13-9 lead. West Texas tied the score and took a 19-15 lead while scoring five straight. A kill from Bond would eventually tie the score at 24, then a block by Bond and Holmes gave the Lions a 25-24 lead and set point. The Lady Buffs tied the set at 25 before a kill from Holmes and another attack error from West Texas gave the Lions the 27-25 set victory and a two sets to one lead.
The Lady Buffs came out determined to push this match to a fifth set with a 10-2 run. The Lions then scored seven of the next nine points, featuring two kills from Ondiit and Etimani, to cut the lead to 11-9. WT then extended the lead to 18-10 after a 7-1 spurt and forced Craig Case to take a timeout.
The Lions got as close as four at 21-17, with a kill from Bond, before the Lady Buffs closed out the set with back-to-back kills from Lexi Davis and Lauren Bevan.
West Texas got an early lead once again in set five, scoring four of the first six points. The Lions battled back and cut the lead to 9-8 after a Davault kill. The Lady Buffs kept the lead before an Onditi kill tied the final set at 12 to set up an exciting finish. Another kill from Onditi gave the Lions their first lead of the set at 13-12 to put the pressure on the top-seeded Lady Buffs. A kill from Laura Iwuchukwu tied the score at 13. Kyli Schultz then recorded an ace after the Lions could not return the serve then an attack error from the Lions sealed the win for the Lady Buffs and a berth into the LSC Championship match versus Angelo State.
The Lions conclude their season at 23-9 overall and recorded their first two wins in the LSC Tournament under Case and reached the semifinals for the first time since the 2009 season.