Lions win five-set battle against No. 3 Lewis, knocks out No. 10 Regis in four to take Bronze Bracket title at Colorado Premier - LINK
DENVER– The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team picked up two wins against top-10 teams in their second day at the Colorado Premier Challenge. The Lions defeated No. 3 Lewis in five sets earlier in the day (19-25, 25-20, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12), then defeated No. 10 Regis in four sets (20-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-23) to win the bronze bracket.
The wins bring the Lions to 6-2 on the season. It is the second year in a row the Lions have defeated nationally ranked opponents in back-to-back days.
The Lions return to action on Thursday with their final non-conference match before the start of the conference season. The Lions will face Southern Arkansas on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Burg Center on the campus of Dallas Baptist. The Lions will then travel to face Angelo State on Friday at 7 p.m. and will face Tarleton State on the road on Saturday at 2 p.m. to begin conference play.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (No. 3 Lewis)
- It was the second day in a row the Lions defeated a top-3 AVCA ranked opponent. The Lions defeated No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul on Friday. CSP went on to claim the Colorado Premier Challenge overall championship.
- The Lions were outhit .118 to .163 and were blocked 15 times in the match. A&M-Commerce had a +14 advantage in kills and a +15 advantage in assists however.
- Jaslyn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge) led the team with 13 kills and had two blocks. Bina Njikam (Keller) had 12 kills, hitting .381.
- Shelley Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X) had 10 kills, four blocks and three aces. Madison Luther (Sealy) had nine kills, including four in the fifth set.
- Jaryn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge) had five kills and Nicole Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point) had three.
- Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) had eight kills, 11 assists and 10 digs. Rylie Fuentes (Robinson) led the team with 22 assists while Carolina Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil) had 13.
- Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands – College Park) led the team with 18 digs. Riley Davidson (Commerce) and Daniela Santos (Caracas, Venezuela) both added 16 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Flyers took the first three points of the match before the Lions got things going. Vela had two early kills as the Lions tied the match at four early. Njikam also had three consecutive kills as the Lions took an 12-10 advantage midway through the set. The teams continued to battle, with the score tied at 18 late. However, the Flyers scored seven of the final eight points to win the set 25-19. The Lions had a negative hitting percentage in the set with 12 attack errors.
The Lions got out to a quick start in the second set, winning five of the first seven points. Vela had three early kills in the set. Jaslyn Wacker also had two early kills as the Lions held a 13-8 advantage midway through the set. Rutledge had a service ace, pushing the Lions' lead to eight points. Jaslyn Wacker had two more kills and the Lions pushed their lead to ten points. Lewis attempted a comeback but it fell short and A&M-Commerce won the second set 25-20.
The third set was evenly matched in the first half, with the teams tied at 12 midway through. Lewis then went on an 8-0 run to take control of the set. The Lions battled back to within four points but could not mount the comeback and fell 25-18 in the set.
The Flyers jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set, winning eight of the first 11 points. The Lions started to fight back, scoring 13 points in a row. Chapron had three aces in the rally and both Jaslyn Wacker and Njikam had two kills apiece in the rally that put the Lions up 16-8. The Lions held their lead at 22-14 before Lewis put up a fight, scoring eight of the next nine points to cut the Lion lead to just one point. The Lions finished out the set however, with the Wacker sisters each recording a kill to win the set 25-22 and force a deciding fifth set.
The Lions scored six of the first seven points of the final set, with Luther recording two early kills. The Flyers battled back to tie the set at 11 apiece. The Lions closed out the set with back-to-back kills from Luther, winning the match in five.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (No. 10 Regis)
- Jaslyn Wacker led the team with 11 kills and five blocks while Bina Njikam had 10 kills and six blocks.
- Celeste Vela had nine kills and six assists. Madison Luther also had nine kills.
- Daniela Santos and Shelley Chapron both had seven kills.
- Rylie Fuentes led the team with 36 assists while Carolina Machado had 11.
- Savannah Rutledge had a team-high 24 digs, Riley Davidson had 15 and Santos had 14.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Regis scored five of the first seven points of the match. The Lions battled back to cut the Ranger lead to one point. Regis went on two mini runs to build their lead to five points and eventually led by six late. The Lions lost the first set 25-20.
The teams traded points early in the second set, with the teams tied at six. The Lions then went on a 6-1 run to establish a lead. The Lions built their lead up to six points before Regis went on a 6-1 run to tie the set at 20 late. The Lions answered the call, scoring five of the final seven points to win the second set 25-22.
With the third set all tied at three, the Lions went on a 7-1 run to take a lead in the third set. Santos had three kills in the rally, giving the Lions a 10-4 lead. The Lions built their lead to as many as eight in the set. A late comeback by the Rangers fell short and A&M-Commerce won the set 25-20.
Regis scored six of the first eight points of the fourth set. The Lions clawed their way back into the set, scoring seven points in a row to take a four-point lead. Fuentes had two aces in the rally and Njikam had two kills. The Lions pushed their lead to six before a late rally from Regis tied the set at 23-all. The Lions scored the final two points to seal the match.
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