Sports
Lions combine strong offense and defense in sweep of UT Tyler
By Texas A&M University-Commerce
Nov 16, 2019
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Tyler, Texas -- The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team picked up a sweep over UT Tyler on Friday evening, using efficient offense and stellar defense. The set scores were 25-21, 25-17, and 25-19.

The win brings the Lions to 23-5 on the season, 15-2 in the Lone Star Conference and 8-1 in their division. The Patriots fall to 10-15 on the year, 5-12 in conference play and 2-7 in the division.

The teams will meet once again on Saturday as part of Senior Day in the final match of the regular season. The match will be played at 2 p.m. at the Field House in Commerce. Tickets to Lion Volleyball home matches can be purchased by visiting WeAreLionsTix.com, by calling (903) 468-8756, or by visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office inside the Field House during business hours.

HEAD COACH CRAIG CASE AFTER THE MATCH

- Thoughts on the defensive performance: "I thought we played really well defensively. I think we used our defense to control the match, rather than our offense. In some matches, we know we are going to score a lot. But I thought tonight, we had a really good focus and execution on defense and we allowed our defense to control the match."

- On the play of Savannah Rutledge: "She was locked in tonight. She made all the plays she normally makes and then she made a couple of plays that no one has seen on film yet. She played with really good focus tonight. I thought she was reading the ball really well and she had good range. And even on plays where she was playing on the outside of her range, I thought she still had pretty good control and was creating good first contacts for us."

- Thoughts on the offensive efficiency: "I thought the hitters worked really hard tonight. When they worked hard and played efficiently, I thought we were really effective. That's how you put up numbers like we did. No one in particular stood out in terms of just one hitter going off. But I thought in every situation, when we had the opportunity to set somebody, we got a good set and there were opportunities for kills for everyone. It was one of those matches where everyone was playing pretty well, so our setters were making good decisions. That's a good way to play offense."

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

- Shelley Chapron (Houston - St. Pius X) led the team with 11 kills, hitting .688 in the match. She also had a team-high six blocks.

- Bina Njikam (Keller) added nine kills, while Destiny Greenwood (Fairfield, Calif.), Keziah Williams (Branson, Mo.), and Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) each had eight kills.

- Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) led the offense with 26 assists, while Natalie Sarbeck (Cypress - Cy-Fair) added 14 assists.

- Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands - College Park) led the team with 23 digs, including 15 digs in the second set alone.

- A&M-Commerce hit .330 in the match, while holding UTT to a .078 percentage. The Lions had 14 or more kills in each set, including 20 kills in the final set.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions got off to a hot start, taking four of the first five points, including consecutive kills from Njikam. Another 5-1 run gave the Lions a 13-5 lead at the midway mark of the set. The Patriots went on a run to cut the Lion lead to three points before the Lions again pushed their lead to eight. A late rally from UTT was to no avail, as the Lions won the set 25-21.

It was an even start to the second set, as the teams traded small rallies. The Lions then went on a 4-0 run to establish a 13-9 lead. After the Lions pushed their lead to five points, UTT battled back to cut the lead back to just one. A&M-Commerce then exploded, taking eight points in a row, capitalizing on multiple attack errors. The Lions won the second set 25-17.

The Lions again came out firing to start the third set, quickly jumping out to a 8-4 lead. Tyler battled back to get within two points. The Lions slowly built their lead back up, winning the set 25-19 to sweep the match.