Cowgirls down Lion Volleyball in five in SLC Opener
LAKE CHARLES, La. – In the first Southland Conference match in Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball history, the McNeese Cowgirls took the Lions to five intense sets. The Cowgirls defeated the Lions 15-8 in the deciding set to collect their first SLC win, 3-2. The four initial sets were neck and neck with scores of 23-25, 25-27, 29-27, and 25-24 for McNeese, who took the last three sets.
Neither team could pull away in the first set until a 4-0 run by the Lions put them in the lead, 8-5. The Cowgirls chipped away and tied the score 19-19 before the Lions took set one, 25-23, on an attack error.
Tension continued in the second set, with both teams going point for point until the Cowgirls broke away with a 5-1 run putting them in the lead 8-5. Essence Allen (Longview – Tatum) with a kill to secure a 6-1 run for the Lions and took back the lead, 11-9. Both teams continued to trade the lead until Reese Fetty (Farmersville) put down a set-point kill, followed by Celeste Vela (Guadlajara, Mexico) with a block to lock down the 27-25 set win for the Lions.
The Cowgirls, with a 7-2 run, took the lead, 15-8. The Lions answered with a 5-2 run to trail by one from the Cowgirls, 18-17. They took the lead for the first time in the third set, 22-20. Both teams alternated the last 10 points reaching the match point four times before the Cowgirls took set three, 29-27.
The Lions built a 14-9 lead in the fourth set before McNeese answered with an 11-2 run to take the lead 20-16. However, Yasmin Figueiredo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Fetty were able to get kills on the Cowgirls before they took the set, 25-21.
McNeese remained upfront in the final set, hitting .421 with 11 kills, leaving the Lions behind, 15-8.
Taryn Cast (Peaster) led the team with 19 kills, five blocks, and a .350 hitting percentage. Vela posted 48 assists, while Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) led with three service aces and 21 digs for the Lions. The Lions received a double-double from Maddy Rashford (Placentia, Calif.), hitting .286 with 16 kills and ten digs. Rashford also tied Hebert with three service aces.
Southland Conference play continues Saturday, where the Lions host their first match of the season at 1:00 pm against Lamar.