Lion volleyball picked to finish as runner-up in the 2021 LSC preseason poll.
RICHARDSON – The Lone Star Conference announced the preseason poll for the spring 2021 volleyball season Tuesday, and they picked the Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team to finish second with 558 total points.
The Lions finished with an impressive 24-7 record to end the 2019 season, including a dominant 16-2 mark in LSC play and division championship. The 2019 campaign included 12 matches where the Lions swept their opponents. A&M-Commerce’s season came to a halt after a five-set loss in the NCAA tournament’s regional quarterfinals against Arkansas-Fort Smith.
They picked Angelo State to finish first with 37 of the 40 first-place votes, with UAFS, St. Edward’s, and UT Permian Basin also receiving preseason votes for the top spot.
The spring season begins on Tuesday, January 26, when the Lions host Texas Women’s in the first of six home matches. The Lions will play 12 games in the regular season, with home-and-home series of two games with Central Division opponents Texas Woman’s, DBU, and UT Tyler.
“We’re really excited and blessed for the opportunity to even compete this year,” said head volleyball coach Craig Case. “Watching other sports try to navigate the challenges that come with COVID protocols, I know that this will be a challenging season. Further, the other three teams in our division are really talented and are going to make for an exceptionally tough conference schedule. Really, everywhere we turn this year, we will be facing a challenge of some sort. However, it’s all worth it for our players and program to be able to compete and do what we love….play volleyball.”
In addition to the poll, they selected three individuals for preseason awards. ASU’s Kailyn Gilbreath was tabbed Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, West Texas’s Chandler Vogel picked up Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors the Rambelles Lindsey Ledyard was named Preseason Setter of the Year.
The Spring 2021 volleyball slate will feature a “bubble” format for 16 teams with four divisions consisting of four teams each on Tuesday-Wednesday playing dates. Each team has 12 divisional games over six weeks against the same opponent at the same site. Regular season competition will begin on January 26 and conclude on March 10, with the week of March 15-20 reserved for makeup contests.
The LSC Volleyball Championship will include 12 teams with the top three in each division. The opening round is March 23, followed by the quarterfinals on March 24, the semifinals on March 30, and the championship match on March 30.
LSC play begins with a four-game home stretch beginning with Texas Women’s on January 26 and 27.
2020-21 Lone Star Conference Volleyball Preseason Poll
|4.||West Texas A&M||544|
|7.||UT Permian Basin||1||396|
|14.||Texas A&M International||125|
Lion women’s basketball ranked No. 19 in D2SIDA national poll.
COMMERCE – Tuesday, the D2SIDA Women’s Basketball Division II released the Media Poll, and the Texas A&M-Commerce women’s basketball team came in at No. 19. The Lions sit at No. 4 in the South Central Regional rankings, which were released Monday.
The Lion squad sits at 5-1 overall with an undefeated 5-0 mark in Lone Star Conference. The Lions won their only game last week at Cameron, 89-71.
As a team, the Lions are the top-scoring offense in the LSC, putting up 78.2 points per game. They give up 64.5 points per game, resulting in the second-highest scoring margin at 13.7 per contest.
A&M-Commerce will play host to Arkansas-Fort Smith on Tuesday evening before a pair of weekend matchups in the Field House against UT Tyler on Friday and Saturday.
The Women’s Basketball Division II Media Poll, sponsored by D2SIDA, is in its seventh season. They release the regional polls every Monday, followed by the national every Tuesday during the season.
D2SIDA National Poll
as of January 19, 2021
|5||Grand Valley State||4-0||337||7|
|9||Charleston (W. Va.)||4-0||253||12|
|13||Southwestern Oklahoma State||5-0||189||21|
|15||West Texas A&M||6-1||165||22|
D2SIDA South Central Regional Poll
as of January 18, 2021
|1||Lubbock Christian (6)||6-0||1|
|3||West Texas A&M||6-1||4|
|5||Texas A&M International||8-1||T-5|
No. 17 Lion women’s basketball opens a three-game homestand against UAFS on Tuesday.
COMMERCE – The seventeenth-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team opens a three-game homestand in midweek action on Tuesday evening with a Lone Star Conference battle against the Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions.
WHO: Arkansas-Fort Smith at A&M-Commerce
WHERE: Commerce, Texas | The Field House
WHEN: 5:30 pm on Tuesday (Jan 19)
RECORDS: A&M-Commerce (5-1, 5-0) and UAFS (2-4, 2-4) both come off wins for this head-to-head matchup
RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce sits at No. 17 in the polls while UAFS remains unranked.
TELEVISION/LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network
LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network — KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)
TICKETS: PASS LIST ONLY
Going into the year
A&M-Commerce (5-1, 5-0) as Jason Burton, seventh-year head coach, comes off a record-setting 2019-20 season with a lions’ share of firsts for the program. The defending LSC Coach of the Year and his staff led the Lions to a program-high 28-3 record along with the first 20-win Lone Star Conference season for the program. The end of this successful run is one the Lions and their fans will wonder “what could have been” after CoVID-19 brought an abrupt end to the postseason.
The Lions maintain a roster with a mix of new faces and experienced ones. Two returning starters are at the forefront, with a duo of double-digit scoring guards in WBCA Honorable Mention Third All-American WBCA and All-LSC Second Teamer Chania Wright (Desoto), and LSC Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-Conference selection Juliana Louis (Long Beach, Calif.).
The season began with back-to-back weekend sweeps of St. Edward’s and St. Mary’s, followed by a nail-biting loss to Midwestern State on the road before getting back into the win column 89-71 victory at Cameron in Lawton, Okla. The Lion women’s basketball team already has two players tabbed as offensive and defensive players of the week, Robinson and Louis, respectively. They have the second-leading scorer in the LSC in DesiRay Kernal, who averages 18.2 points per game. Robinson leads the team with 21.7 points per game but has only played in three games this season. The Lions hold the top spot in the North Division of the LSC standings.
Notes to consider
This contest should feature much scoring as A&M-Commerce leads the conference averaging 78.2 points per game while UAFS is also in the top half of the same category with 67.2 in the young season. TAMUC has four players averaging double-figures day-in and day out through six games, with Robinson leading the way. Kernal ranks second in the LSC among those who qualify with her 18.2, while Wright puts up 10.5 and Louis adds 10.3 of her own. Louis and Agang Tac are the leading rebounders for TAMUC, bringing down 7.3 and 7.0, respectively.
When A&M-Commerce wins, they do so handily, ranking second in the conference in scoring margin at 13.7 points per game. Judging by the same statistic, UAFS is consistently in close games, just on the negative side of the scoreboard by .5 points through six contests. Both squads are suffocating on defense around the perimeter. UAFS is limiting opponents to 28.8 percent from beyond the arc while the Lions from A&M-Commerce hold their foes to 27.7.
Both squads have shown the ability to take advantage of opportunities at the free-throw line, sitting in the LSC’s top three in that category. UAFS shoots 79.5-percent, good enough for the top spot, and TAMUC ranks third, hitting their free throws at a 76.7 percent rate. Both squads have attempted 146 shots to this point. Finally, a key to the game will be who takes better care of the ball. UAFS ranks third in turnover margin with 5.0, forcing 130 opponent turnovers, while A&M-Commerce is fourth, owning a margin of 4.17 and forcing 141 opponent turnovers.
On the opponent
The Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions (2-4, 2-4) finished last year with a 14-15 mark, 11-11 record in the LSC. Head coach Tari Cummings is in her third season at the UAFS program’s helm and is the first coach in program history to be a former player. Last year, the visiting Lions finished the regular season with wins over UT Tyler and TAMUC, an 85-84 thriller, before being eliminated by St. Edward’s in the LSC Tournament on Mar 3, 2020.
UAFS has a trio of Lions leading them in scoring, including Hannah Boyett – their leading scorer averaging 14.2 per game. Mar’Shalla Lollie is close behind with 13.0, and Ashanti Eden wraps up the scoring trio at 10.5 points per game. Boyett’s scoring comes as a scoring threat beyond the arc (13 three-pointers) and efficiency at the charity stripe (24-of-27 for 88.9-percent), while Lollie is the insider threat, hitting her shots at a 44.1-percent clip. Lollie also leads the team in rebounding with 8.8 per game.
In the series history
A&M-Commerce and Arkansas-Fort Smith meet for only the third time in series history, with all two previous games coming last season. Each team won on their home court, one being a blowout in favor of TAMUC, while the other was a one-point senior night victory for UAFS. This matchup moved from its originally scheduled date of Jan 16.