Sports
No. 21 Lions clinch second place in LSC with five-set win at Eastern New Mexico
By Texas A&M University-Commerce
Nov 3, 2018
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Portales, N.M. The No. 21 Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team was pushed to the edge by Eastern New Mexico University on Friday night before prevailing in five sets. Set scores were 31-29, 22-25, 25-21, 23-25, and 15-10.
 
A&M-Commerce moves to 24-5 overall on the season with a 16-3 Lone Star Conference record. Eastern New Mexico is now 9-18 overall and 7-12 in league play. The Lion win combined with Angelo State's loss at UT Permian Basin clinches second place in the LSC for A&M-Commerce.
 
The Lions close the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday, taking on West Texas A&M at the WTAMU Fieldhouse in Canyon.
 
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

- The Lions had 66 kills on the night with a .188 hitting percentage.

- Shelley Chapron (Houston St. Pius X) led the Lions with 17 kills on a .306 hitting percentage. She also had eight blocks on the night.

- Jaryn Wacker (Austin Vista Ridge) had 14 kills and Jaslyn Wacker (Austin Vista Ridge) had 12 kills, with both twins chipping in on three blocks.

- Bina Njikam (Keller) put away 10 kills and had five blocks.

- Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) was one kill short of a triple-double with nine kills, 31 assists, and 11 digs.

- Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands College Park) had 30 digs and Rylie Fuentes (Robinson) passed out 22 assists.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED

The first set saw a commanding Lion position disappear late in the frame before extra points went deep. A&M-Commerce held a 21-17 lead before the Greyhounds scored four straight points to tie the set at 21-all. For the next 16 points, neither side could establish a two-point advantage, with both teams squandering chances at set point twice. The Lions trailed 29-28, then scored the final three points of the set. Njikam's hammer kill at 31-29 gave A&M-Commerce the 1-0 lead.
 
Eastern had the advantage on the scoreboard in the early stages of the second set, taking a five-point lead at 15-10. The Lions steadily chipped away at the lead, and a three-point surge tied the frame at 21-all. Unfortunately for the blue and gold, the Greyhounds scored the final three points of the set and the hosts took the set 25-22.
 
A&M-Commerce took the third set by closing out in dominating fashion. The Greyhounds held a 19-17 lead, though neither team led by more than three to that point in the set. The Lions scored three straight points to flip the score to a 20-19 A&M-Commerce lead, then put away five of the final six points to earn the 25-21 set win. The Lions threw down 15 kills and hit .231 in the set.
 
The Lions sensed the chance to close out the match and took a commanding lead early, scoring the first eight points of the fourth set. ENMU responded with a five-point rally to stem the tide. A&M-Commerce led 14-10 before the hosts scored eight of the next nine points, swinging the lead to the Greyhounds at 18-15. After a Lion timeout, the visitors scored the next four points to regain the lead, but ENMU would go on to score three of the final four points after a 22-all tie to send the match to the deciding set. The Lions were limited to an uncharacteristically low .087 hitting percentage in the fourth set.
 
In the decider, the Lions fell behind 5-1 before roaring back to take command. Seven straight points went in the Lions' favor, as TAMUC took an 8-5 lead. Another big surge went the Lions' way, with A&M-Commerce scoring five straight to put the set and the match out of reach. Chapron's final kill of the night closed out the victory.