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TAMUC – Sports


Volleyball splits doubleheader, sweeps Maryville

STEPHENVILLE– The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team picked up a three-set sweep of Maryville and a three-set loss to No. 23 Rockhurst on Saturday. The Lions set points in the first match were 25-15, 25-11 and 25-15 and 22-25, 22-25 and 22-25 in the second match.

The match results bring the Lions to 2-2 on the season, with both losses coming against top-25 ranked opponents.

The Lions return to action on Friday, September 8, with a doubleheader as part of the 2017 Steel and Silver Classic. The Lions will face Wayne State (Neb.) at 4 p.m. and Colorado State-Pueblo at 8:00 pm. Both matches will at Massari Arena in Pueblo, Colo. The Lions will then have two matchups on Saturday in Colorado Springs.

– Jaslyn Wacker led the Lions with 12 kills, with an impressive .857 hitting percentage. She also had four digs and four blocks.
– Jaryn Wacker had eight kills and a block. Mariyah Oliver had five kills, including three in the third set. She also had two blocks.
– Gabriela Rosa led the team with 21 assists. She also had four digs.
– Rylie Fuentes had 13 assists, two aces, and seven digs. Lacie Jessup led the team with ten digs.
– Layne Little, Shelley Chapron, Sydney Reyes and Preston Lienemann all had multiple kills. Chapron also had two blocks.
– Neka Nelson, Savannah Rutledge, and Payton McMillan each recorded a kill.
– The team hit .310, had six aces and six blocks.

The teams traded points early in the first set. Both teams had strong defensive fronts at the beginning of the match, recording several blocks. With A&M-Commerce trailing 6-5, the Lions then went on a rally. They scored five consecutive points to take a 10-6 lead. Jaslyn Wacker continued where she left off on Friday, placing down three consecutive kills as the Lions led 16-10 midway through the first set. The Lions continued to pull away late, taking an eight-point lead following a kill from each Wacker and Chapron. Maryville had some late miscues in the set, and the Lions won the first set 25-15. Jaslyn Wacker had five kills in the first set on five attacks.

Little opened up the second set with an ace and a kill and the Lions quickly gained a lead against Maryville. The Lions led 12-5 midway through the set. The Wacker sisters began to dominate. Each recording back-to-back kills late in the set as the Lions pulled away. The Lions won the second set 25-11.

A&M-Commerce again started the third set well, scoring the first three points and six of the first eight points. Oliver had three quick kills in the set. The Saints climbed back into the set midway through, cutting the Lion lead to 14-12. The Lions responded, building the lead back up to five. A&M-Commerce closed the match out with a strong finish. They scored the final seven points to win the third and deciding set 25-15.

– Nelson led the Lions with ten kills and a hitting percentage of .450.
– Little finished with nine kills and three digs. Jaryn and Jaslyn Wacker each had six kills.
– Chapron and Oliver both had multiple kills while Rosa, Jessup, and Lienemann all had one.
– Rosa led the team with 22 assists and had five digs. Fuentes had 16 assists and six digs. Jessup led the team with 16 digs.
– Fuentes had three consecutive aces in the second set. The Lions had six aces in the match.
– Errors hurt the Lions. They had 17 attack errors, five block errors and four service errors.

Nelson had two early kills for the Lions in the first set. The Hawks jumped to a three-point lead early, but A&M-Commerce clawed back just as fast to tie the game up at seven. After Rockhurst again pushed their lead to three, this time it was Little who rallied the Lions, recording three-consecutive kills. Midway through the set, the Lions trailed 13-12.

Two attack errors by the Lions let the Hawks push their lead to 18-13. The set started to get away from the Lions late in the set as the Hawks pushed their lead to six, the highest margin of the first set. The Lions kept fighting to stay in the set, with Chapron posting consecutive kills to cut the lead back down to three and prompting a timeout. Nelson then had three kills of her own late in the set to cut the lead to two, but that is as close as the Lions could get. They fell 25-22 in the first set. Nelson led the team with five kills while Little had four.

A&M-Commerce continued their late momentum into the second set, taking an early advantage. Fuentes served three-consecutive aces as part of a six-point rally for the Lions, giving them their largest advantage of the match, a 10-3 lead. After a timeout, Rockhurst answered back, scoring eight of the next nine points to erase their deficit and tie the set at 11. The Lions held a 13-12 lead midway through the second set.

Attack errors started to hurt the Lions again as the Hawks took their first lead of the set, which they pushed to five, a 21-16 Lion deficit. A&M-Commerce fought back, cutting the lead to two. Jaslyn Wacker looked to rally the team, placing back-to-back kills into the hardwood. Little added a kill, and the Lions trailed 22-20 late in the set. However, the Lion rally ran out of time, and the Hawks won the second set 25-22.

The Lions again got off to a good start in the third set. Two service aces gave them an early 4-1 lead. The Hawks again rallied, quickly overcoming the deficit to take a 10-6 lead on a six-point rally. While the Lions started to score again, the Hawks continued to build their lead, pushing it to as many as seven in the set.

The Lions made a late push, scoring six points in a row. Jaryn Wacker had two kills, and the Lion defense forced three hitting errors, cutting the lead to 23-22. However, the Lions could not complete the rally and lost the third set 25-22.

Volleyball splits two matches to open season, sweeps Southwest Baptist

STEPHENVILLE– The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team won its first match of the season, defeating Southwest Baptist in straight sets. After trailing early in the first set, the Lions did not trail for the remainder of the match. The set scores were 25-14, 25-13 and 25-17.

In their second match, the Lions fell to No. 18 Central Oklahoma in straight sets. The set scores were 12-25, 18-25 and 20-25. The Lions are now 1-1 on the season.

The Lions return to the court on Saturday for two games. They will face Maryville at 10:00 am and No. 23 Rockhurst at 3:00 pm. All games will take place at the Wisdom Gym in Stephenville.

– Jaslyn Wacker led the Lions with 12 kills in the first match, hitting .588. She had five kills in the first set of the first game. In game two, she recorded four kills and two blocks.
– Neka Nelson finished with 11 kills in the first match, including seven in the second set. She hit .474 and had a block. She added two kills in the second game.
– Layne Little had nine kills, two service aces, and 11 digs, hitting .600 in the first match. She had seven kills in the second game.
– Jaryn Wacker had eight kills, three digs and a block in the first match. In the second game, she led the team with 11 kills and a .421 hitting percentage.
– Shelley Chapron and Sydney Reyes each had five kills in the first match. In the second match, Chapron had three kills, Reyes had five, Mariyah Oliver had two, and Chassidy Hill and Preston Lienemann each had one.
– Gabriela Rosa had 21 assists to lead the team and also had nine digs in the first match. She had 19 assists in the second match.
Rylie Fuentes had 20 assists in the first match and 13 in the second. Lacie Jessup had a team-high 13 digs in the first match and had 29 digs in the second game.
– The Lions had success hitting in the first match, finishing with an impressive .451 hitting percentage. The team had an astonishing .630 hitting percentage in the first set.
– The Lion defensive wall also had an intense first match. SBU finished with a hitting percentage of just .078 with 17 attack errors. The Lions struggled to hit in the second game, hitting .074.
– After trailing 9-8 in the first set, the Lions did not trail for the rest of the first game. This game included 11-consecutive points in their second set win.


The teams traded the lead back and forth early in the first set. Little had a service ace to start the Lion scoring. Jaslyn Wacker and Reyes both had two kills at the beginning of the game to keep the score knotted at eight apiece. Little had another kill to give the Lions a 10-8 lead. After two SBU points to tie the score, the Lions scored five in a row, including another ace from Little and two kills from Jaryn Wacker to take a 15-10 lead midway through the first set.

Jaryn Wacker had three consecutive kills for the Lions as they continued to build a lead. It was then Jaslyn Wacker’s turn, notching three-straight kills of her own to give the Lions a 10-point lead late in the first set. The Lions won the first set 25-14. Jaslyn Wacker had five kills in the first set while Jaryn Wacker had four. The team had a hitting percentage of .630 in the first set.

A&M-Commerce started the set with the first three points to take an early lead. However, SBU came back with three-consecutive points of their own to tie the game first. Nelson had the hot hand early for the Lions, grabbing three kills. With the score at 5-4, the Lions then grabbed 11 points in a row to take a commanding 16-4 lead, which included two kills from each of the Wacker twins and two more from Nelson. After a few hitting errors, Nelson had two more kills to end the set, and the Lions took game two 25-13.

A&M-Commerce again got out to a quick 3-1 lead in the third set. Nelson continued to hit well in the match, scoring two of the first four points for the Lions. The Lion defense was strong throughout the entire game, forcing attack errors on multiple occasions for SBU. Two kills from Little and a kill from Chapron gave the Lions a 10-5 lead.

SBU did not let the third set get away from them early. After trailing by five, they clawed their way back into the set, cutting the Lion lead to just one. However, the Lions would not give up their lead. They built the lead back up to three-straight points to lead 18-13. Chapron had two kills late in the third set, and the Lions won 25-17 to sweep the match.


The teams traded points to start the first set. Jaryn Wacker had two early kills for the Lions to give the Lions an early 3-1 lead. However, UCO began to battle back and started to pull away midway through the set, scoring seven of the next eight points to take a 13-7 lead. After A&M-Commerce scored two consecutive, UCO again went on a run and ran away with the set, winning 25-12.

The second set was tight for the majority of the game. Jaryn Wacker had three early kills, and Little had two as the game was tied early. The teams continued to trade points, and the game tied at 10. After the match tied at 17-all, UCO flipped the switch, scoring the final six points of the set to win 25-18.

The third set went much like the second for the Lions, with UCO pulling away at the end of the game. Kills by Jaryn and Jaslyn Wacker and Layne Little kept the Lions close early in the set. Hitting errors hurt the Lions in the third match. However, the Lion front line cause hitting errors of their own with a multitude of blocks. With the set tied at 16, UCO again went on a run, scoring five of the next six points to take a five-point lead, which they held until the end of the game. UCO won the third set 25-20 to complete the sweep.


No. 15 Lion soccer comes back to down Central Oklahoma 2-1

COMMERCE– The No. 15 Texas A&M University-Commerce soccer team defeated Central Oklahoma 2-1 on Sunday afternoon. The Lions scored the go-ahead goal in the 49th minute to break a streak of 14 matches without a win against UCO, dating back to 2001.

The win brings the Lions to 2-0 on the season, their first 2-0 start since the 2014 season. UCO drops to 0-2 on the season. The game was part of the Lion Soccer Classic, presented by Domino’s, Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Plus of Greenville.

The Lions will conclude their three-match homestand to start off the season with a matchup against St. Mary’s on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be at the Lion Soccer Field.

– Senior Sophie Haywood scored the game-winning goal in the 49th minute. She got a pass from freshman Tori Smith in traffic and fired the ball into the right side of the net. It was Haywood’s second goal of the season.
– Freshman Izzy Ward scored the first goal for the Lions in the 43rd minute. She took a free kick from 40 yards out and rifled the ball over the UCO goalkeeper to tie up the game.
– Junior Caitlin Duty made three saves on UCO’s four shots on goal. She made a crucial save with three minutes to go in the match to keep the game from going to overtime.
– Eight of the nine shots for A&M-Commerce were on goal. Smith had a shot on goal to go with her assist. Michelle Kotlik, Leslie Campuzano, Delaney Bunselmeyer, Sabrina Munguia, and Cora Welch also had shots on goal.

It was a physical contest as both sides fought hard for possession of the ball throughout the game. Each team had a corner kick in the early minutes of the match, but defenses were tight through the majority of the match. UCO had the first shot on goal in the 10th minute. However, Duty pushed the ball aside to keep the game scoreless.

For the next ten minutes, neither offense could get close enough to take a shot. Another shot by UCO in the 23rd minute went wide to keep the match scoreless. Campuzano had Lion’s first shot on goal in the 24th minute, but UCO’s Kaitlyn Asher made the save. Bunselmeyer also had a shot on goal in the 29th minute that could not get past Asher, and the game remained scoreless.

UCO was the first team on the board. Kelsey Gordon took the ball and turned left to get around her defender and shot the ball into the net to give UCO a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute. The Lions knocked another shot on goal from Welch aside, and the Lions still had to wait to find the net.

That would all change in the 43rd minute. After a foul, Ward took a free kick from 40 yards away. After taking two steps, she hammered the ball toward the net and caught the UCO goalkeeper off guard. The ball went over the keeper’s head and found the back of the net to tie the game going into the half.

The Lions quickly took the lead in the first four minutes of the second half. They blocked Munguia’s shot, and Smith was there to get the rebound. She found Haywood, who got space from her defender and found the back of the net to give the Lions the 2-1 lead.

Smith had a chance of her own to get a goal. In the 51st minute, the placed a ball in the box, and she put her head on the ball, aiming it toward the goal. The UCO goalkeeper made a diving stop to keep the ball out of the net.

UCO started to play more aggressively in the final 15 minutes of the match, looking for the equalizing goal. The Lions tightened their defense to adjust. While UCO fired multiple balls into the Lion box, those were turned aside by Lion defenders, who shot the balls past the midline and away from the net.

One UCO attack found its way through the Lion defense in the 88th minute. A UCO player had a good look at the goal. However, Duty made a diving save to her left to keep the Lions in the lead for good.


No. 15 Lion soccer wins season opener 2-0 over Florida Tech

COMMERCE– The 15th-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce soccer team got its first win of the season with a 2-0 win over Florida Tech in the season’s opening match. The Lions scored the go-ahead goal four minutes into the second half and added another goal six minutes later to ice the game.

The win brings the Lions to 1-0 on the year while FIT falls to 0-1.

The Lions return to action on Sunday as they face Central Oklahoma. The game will begin 1:30 pm at the Lion Soccer Field. It will follow an 11:00 am match up with FIT facing Angelo State. The games are part of the Lion Soccer Classic, presented by Domino’s, Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Plus of Greenville. Fans will receive free admission to the game with a donation to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

– Senior Sophie Haywood scored the first goal of the game on a perfectly placed ball on a breakaway. She rifled the ball into the right side of the net. Haywood had three shots on goal in the game.
– Senior Delaney Bunselmeyer scored the insurance goal for the Lions in the ninth minute of the second half off of a corner kick assist.
– Freshman Kara Blasingame assisted on both goals for the Lions. Freshman Leslie Campuzano also had a shot on goal.
– Caitlin Duty posted a shutout, stopping all four FIT shots on goal.
– The Lions won the corner kick battle, taking seven to FIT’s two.
– There was one yellow card in the game.

The Lions had an early opportunity for a goal in the ninth minute. However, Haywood was called to be offsides. Another chance for Michelle Kotlik went just wide in the 15th minute.

Haywood had another chance on a juke move to get rid of her defender in the 20th minute. However, the goalkeeper rushed out of the goal and made a diving block to keep the ball out of the net.

FIT had two opportunities near the 30th minute, but both shots were wide, maintaining the game knotted at zero. Throughout the first half, the teams were evenly matched, with neither team dominating the ball. The game was scoreless at half time.

The Lions took the lead early in the second half. Blasingame placed a ball over the head of a FIT defender perfectly for Haywood, and she found the back of the net, giving the Lions their first goal of the season.

Shortly afterward, the Lions again were on the board again. Basingame’s corner kick was kicked in by Bunselmeyer, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead with 32 minutes left in the game.

The Lion defense held strong, with a couple of FIT shots making their way on goal. However, Duty turned them aside, and the Lions left with the 2-0 shutout.


No. 5 A&M-Commerce pulls out late 8-7 win in dramatic defensive battle at No. 6 North Alabama

FLORENCE, Ala. – On the strength of an outstanding defensive performance, fifth-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce held on for an 8-7 win over sixth-ranked and defending national runner-up North Alabama at Braly Stadium on Friday night.

A&M-Commerce moves to 1-0 on the young season and returns home on Saturday, September 9, hosting William Jewell for a 600 pm. CommUniverCity Day kickoff.

Tickets are available by visiting WeAreLionsTix.com or calling (903) 468-8756.

– Kicker Kristov Martinez connected on a pair of 30-yard field goal attempts, the second coming with 1:12 remaining in the game to give A&M-Commerce the final lead.
– Safety Chris Smith made a tackle in the end zone for a safety with 4:18 remaining in the match. The Lions pinned UNA at their 2-yard line with a 55-yard Jake Viquez punt.
– A&M-Commerce was limited to 272 yards of offense but also held North Alabama to 300 yards of offense.
– The hosts missed four field goals, including a blocked 55-yard attempt in the final stages of the fourth quarter.
– Linebacker Brucks Saathoff led A&M-Commerce with ten tackles, including 1.5 sacks for losses of 15 yards and two total tackles for loss.
– The A&M-Commerce defense sacked UNA quarterback Blake Hawkins five times and broke up seven passes.

North Alabama sustained an early drive in the first quarter, moving 54 yards downfield before missing a 46-yard field goal attempt. There was 3:45 left in the first-quarter, Hawkins found Dre Hall for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it a 7-0 UNA lead.

A&M-Commerce struggled on offense in the first half, gaining no more than 20 yards on a drive, with all seven drives ending in punts.

However, the A&M-Commerce defense was up to the task, forcing four UNA punts and two unsuccessful long field goal attempts in the first 30 minutes of action.

The A&M-Commerce offense came out of the locker room at halftime with more efficiency, while the defense was even stronger than before. A&M-Commerce allowed UNA only 116 yards in the second half.

A&M-Commerce scored its first points of the game on the opening drive of the third quarter, driving 75 yards in 13 plays, with Martinez’ first 30-yard field goal cutting the UNA lead to 7-3.

The guests moved the ball well in the half, but the next three A&M-Commerce drives ended in interceptions thrown by Luis Perez, with one in the end zone and A&M-Commerce threatening to score. Perez completed 23-of-37 passes for 179 yards on the night to go over 3,500 yards passing in his career.

With 4:24 on the fourth quarter clock, A&M-Commerce was forced to punt for the first time in the second half from its 43-yard line. Viquez’ punt rolled dead at the 2-yard line. UNA elected to snap from a shotgun formation, and Chris Smith bolted into the backfield, sacking Hawkins in the end zone for the safety, cutting the UNA advantage to 7-5.

Shawn Hooks returned the ensuing free kick to the North Alabama 36-yard line, setting up the dramatic finish for A&M-Commerce.

Richard Whitaker’s 8-yard carry on third-and-10 got the ball down to the UNA 13-yard line on the left hash mark. Martinez drilled the 30-yard field goal and put A&M-Commerce on top for the first time in the game at the 1:12 mark, 8-7.

UNA’s last gasp efforts to have the ball downfield were aided by a pair of interference penalties and a 20-yard completion until the final three plays. Alex Shillow broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage, followed by a Peyton Searcy sack.

UNA had third-and-14 in field goal range, but Trevon Blanchard rushed into the backfield and forced Hawkins to fumble. The ball bounded backward 18 yards before UNA recovered it, forcing the 55-yard field goal attempt. The Lions blocked it at the line of scrimmage.

– This game was the lowest score by a Lions’ winning team since a 6-3 victory over East Texas State over Henderson State in 1995.
– Martinez now ranks third in school history with 32 career field goals made, passing Saul Martinez (31 from 2013-14).

Josh Manck

Assistant Athletics Director for Communications | Texas A&M University-Commerce