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Volleyball upsets defending national champ No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul in five splits day at Colorado Premier Challenge.

DENVER– The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team picked up a win and a loss in their first day of action at the Colorado Premier Challenge. The Lions defeated the reigning national champion and No. 2-ranked Concordia-St. Paul in five sets (18-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-25, 15-13). They then fell to the host school Metro State in four sets (20-25, 27-25, 13-25, 19-25).

The results bring the Lions’ record to 4-2 on the season.

The Lions await their opponents on Saturday. The complete schedule for the Colorado Premier Challenge will be announced shortly.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (Concordia-St. Paul)
– The match statistics were nearly even in all categories. The Lions hit .255 while CSP hit .270. The teams had the same number of blocks and neither team dominated in any single category.
– The Lions got contributions from all across the lineup as 12 players recorded kills in the match. 11 players recorded digs and seven had at least one block.
– Jaslyn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge) led the attack with 10 kills. Madison Luther (Sealy) had nine kills and hit .500.
– Nicole Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point) had eight kills and hit .545. Bina Njikam (Keller) also had seven kills.
– Rylie Fuentes (Robinson) had 26 assists while Carolina Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil) had 18 to go along with two aces.
– Njikam had six blocks, Wacker had three and Daniela Santos (Caracas, Venezuela) had two.
– It is the second consecutive season that the Lions have defeated a top-5 ranked opponent.

The Lions scored the first two points of the match and the teams battled back and forth early, with the score tied at 5-5. The Golden Bears then slowly started to build a lead. After a few attack errors in a row from the Lions, CSP built its lead to four points midway through the set. The Lions battled back to cut the lead to two points but could not complete the comeback, with CSP taking the first set 25-18.

CSP took an early lead in the second set before the Lions battled back. Wacker had multiple kills early in the set and contributed blocks as well as the Lion defense forced multiple Golden Bear attack errors. The Lions led 13-11 at the halfway mark of the set. Two Lion service aces also aided the cause as A&M-Commerce built a four-point lead. A kill by Santos and two attack errors from CSP allowed the Lions to build their lead to seven points late in the second set. The Lions won the second set 25-20. The Lions hit .312 in the set and held the Golden Bears to a .156 average. Six different Lions recorded kills in the set.

Shelley Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X) had two early kills in the third set as the Lions got out to a 6-2 lead early. After CSP battled back to within two points, the Lions went on a 5-0 run to take an 11-5 lead near the halfway point of the third set. The Lions continued to apply pressure, building their lead to nine points. After CSP cut the lead to seven, the Lions went on another run, scoring four points in a row to take an 11-point lead. CSP attack errors helped the A&M-Commerce cause. Trailing 24-14, the Golden Bears scored seven points in a row but the Lions got the point they needed, winning the set 25-21. The Lion attack hit .400 in the third set while holding CSP’s attack to .200.

The Golden Bears scored the first two points of the fourth set before the Lions scored four in a row to take the lead, including two kills from Luther. CSP answered back with a run of their own, taking a three-point lead. The Golden Bears built their lead to six points midway through the set and led by as many as 10 as A&M-Commerce could not gain momentum in the set. CSP won the set 25-15, hitting .556.

A&M-Commerce got off to a good start in the final set, building an early 6-2 lead. Gonelli had two early kills in the rally. Midway through, CSP battled back to cut the Lion lead to just one point. The Lions did not falter, never losing the lead in the final set. They won the set 15-13, winning the match in five.

– The Lion attack struggled, recording a .092 hitting percentage in the match. MSUD hit .232.
– The Roadrunners had seven aces in the match.
– Jaslyn Wacker led the team with 11 kills and also led the team with five blocks.
– Shelley Chapron had eight kills, hitting .438. She also had four blocks.
– Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) had seven kills, 14 assists, and five digs. Madison Luther also had seven kills.
– Rylie Fuentes led the team with 16 assists. Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands – College Park) led the team with 16 digs.

The teams battled back-and-forth in the early stages of the first set, splitting the first 14 points. The Roadrunners then took three points in a row to establish a lead. Midway through the set, MSUD held a 13-11 lead. They then scored five points in a row to take a seven-point advantage. The Lions could not climb back in and lost the first set 25-20.

A&M-Commerce scored five of the first six points of the second set, with MSUD registering four consecutive attack errors. The Roadrunners began to battle back, tying the set at 13 midway through. The Lions then scored six points in a row to take a 19-13 lead. MSUD fought back again, tying the match at 23 and forcing extra points. After trailing 25-24, the Lions scored the final three points of the set. Vela and Chapron both had kills and the Lions won the second set 27-25.

The Roadrunners got off to a fast start in the third set, scoring five of the first six points. After the teams traded points for multiple series, the Roadrunners began to add to their lead, scoring seven points in a row to take a double-digit advantage. The Lions could not recover and lost the third set 25-13.

The Lions scored six of the first eight points of the fourth set, taking a four-point lead early. MSUD battled back to tie the match at seven-all. The teams then traded points, staying tied at every turn until the match was tied at 14-all. The Roadrunners then went on a run, scoring four points in a row. The Lions battled back to cut the MSUD lead to just one point but the Roadrunners scored six of the final seven points of the set to clinch the match with a 25-19 set win.


No. 1 Lions take seventh straight Chennault Cup with a dramatic 37-36 win in double overtime.

COMMERCE – The No. 1 Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions rallied from a 16-point deficit to force overtime, then made clutch plays down the stretch to pull out a 37-36 double overtime victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville on Thursday.

The Lions win the Chennault Cup for the seventh straight year and move their record to 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Lone Star Conference. The Javelinas are now 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the LSC.

The Lions are next in action on Saturday, September 8 at William Jewell with a noon kickoff in Liberty, Mo.

– With the win, the Lions move their winning streak to 11 consecutive games, which is the longest streak in Division II.
– This is the second consecutive one-point win in a season opener for the Lions, who defeated North Alabama 8-7 in the 2017 opener.
– This is A&M-Commerce’s seventh straight Chennault Cup win, tying A&M-Kingsville’s streak from 1992-99 as the longest winning streak in the 65-game series.
– The Lions fell behind by 16 points at halftime and scored the final 16 points of regulation after trailing 23-7 in the third quarter.
– A&M-Commerce had 24 first downs to A&M-Kingsville’s 21. The Javelinas had 415 yards of offense to the Lions’ 394. A&M-Commerce turned the ball over three times.
– Preston Wheeler (Austin – Bowie) completed 23-of-48 passes for 298 yards in his first career start, throwing three touchdown passes and one interception.
– Marquis Wimberly (Duarte, Calif.) had eight receptions for 101 yards and the game-tying touchdown in the second overtime.
– Vincent Hobbs (Mesquite – Horn) and Matt Childers (Henderson) each had touchdown receptions.
– Ovie Urevbu (Plano – Legacy Christian) was the Lions’ leading rusher with 14 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. Kane Wilson (New Orleans, La.) also had a touchdown carry.
– Kristov Martinez (Edinburg) was 1-for-2 on field goals, tying the game with 20 seconds remaining in regulation on a 34-yarder.
– Brucks Saathoff (San Antonio – Reagan) had nine tackles to lead the Lions.
– Jalon Edwards-Cooper (Spring – Dekaney) had eight stops with a tackle for loss and an interception, while Neema Behbahani (Plano) had eight tackles and two pass breakups.
– Michael Onuoha (Edmond, Okla.) had 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries, leading the charge on A&M-Commerce’s 10 tackled for the loss. Reggie Kincade (Everman) also had a key fourth-quarter interception.
– Jake Viquez (Rockwall) had four punts for an average of 38.2 yards, while Tristan Perry (Mineral Wells) punted twice for a 44.5-yard average.
– Kincade had two kickoff returns for a 40.0-yard average.

The Lion defense forced an interception on the first Javelina drive, with Edwards-Cooper picking off the pass. The Lions drove into enemy territory but a Martinez field goal fell just short.

The Lion defense again held the Javelinas on their next possession, forcing a turnover on downs. Wheeler then completed a 33-yard pass to Matt Childers to give the Lions their first opportunity in the red zone. However, it was the Javelina defense that made a play, intercepting a pass in the end zone to leave the Lions without points. Neither team scored in the first quarter.

The Javelinas scored on their first possession of the second quarter after the Lions muffed a punt and A&M-Kingsville recovered inside the red zone. A 17-yard touchdown pass was followed by a bad snap on a PAT attempt, giving the Javelinas a 6-0 lead.

Two Lion punts were sandwiched between a missed field goal by A&M-Kingsville. The Javelinas then went on a 13-play drive to score a touchdown and take a 13-0 lead into halftime.

Disaster struck again for the Lions in the first drive of the second half. On the first play of the drive, the Lions fumbled and the Javelinas recovered. The Lion defense held its ground and A&M-Kingsville was only able to kick a field goal to take a 16-0 lead.

Wheeler and the offense started to settle in the middle part of the third quarter. Wheeler completed a 33-yard pass to Wimberly and followed that with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Childers. The Lions cut the Javelina lead to 16-7 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

A&M-Kingsville answered back right away with a touchdown drive of their own. The first play of the possession was a 43-yard pass. The drive was capped with a nine-yard touchdown throw, bringing the Javelina lead back up to 16 points.

The Lions scored another touchdown on their next possession. Wheeler completed passes of 19 and 25 yards to get the Lions in the red zone. Wilson finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, up the gut. A two-point conversion failed and the Lions trailed 23-13 going into the fourth quarter.

The Lions scored quickly in the fourth quarter to cut into the Javelina lead even more. A 44-yard pass from Wheeler to Davis put the Lions close. The drive was capped with a catch-and-run from Hobbs, who broke a leg tackle to get into the end zone. The Lions trailed 23-20.

The game turned into a defensive battle in the fourth quarter, with both teams forcing the other to punt. Both teams punted on three consecutive possessions. The Lion defense then again made its presence known. An errant throw from the Javelina quarterback was swallowed up by Kincade, giving the Lions possession inside enemy territory with less than two minutes to play.

Urevbu started the drive with a 13-yard rush. Wheeler then hit consecutive long pass plays to Wimberly to get the team in field goal position. With the pressure of the game on his shoulders, Martinez delivered, drilling the 34-yard kick to tie the game with 17 seconds left, sending the game into overtime tied at 23.

The Lions possessed the ball to start overtime and every single play call was a rush by Urevbu. He punched the ball in the end zone to give the Lions their first lead of the game.

The Javelinas scored on their first possession of overtime and then started the second overtime with the ball and also scored a touchdown. However, for the second time in the game, the PAT attempt was fumbled and the Lions had the chance to win the game.

Urevbu rushed four times in the second overtime before the Lions called Wheeler’s name on fourth down and goal. He dropped back to pass and found Wimberly in the end zone for the touchdown. The Lion faithful cheered as Martinez kicked the extra point through the uprights to give the Lions the walk-off win.