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TAMUC – Sports

Lions close out the regular season with a narrow sweep of Texas Woman’s

COMMERCE – A volleyball team only needs to win by two points to take a set, and the Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions did just that in a 3-0 sweep of Texas Woman’s University in the Field House on Wednesday night.

Set scores were 25-23, 25-23, and 35-33. The third set established a school record for the longest set in the 25-point rally scoring era. 

The Lions complete the regular season at 6-6 overall and in the Lone Star Conference Central Division and advance to the LSC Tournament as the Central Division’s second seed. Texas Woman’s University ends its season at 3-9. 

A&M-Commerce will take on Oklahoma Christian, the third seed from the North Division, at 6:00 pm Tuesday in Kingsville in the tournament’s opening round. The winner of that match plays at Texas A&M-Kingsville, the top seed from the South Division, in the quarterfinals at 6:00 pm Wednesday. The semifinals and finals will be on March 30 and 31.

HEAD COACH CRAIG CASE AFTER THE MATCH 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The Lions hit .138 in the match and won all three sets despite a lower overall hitting percentage, as TWU hit .164.

– Three Lions had double-digit kills, led by 12 apiece from Taryn Cast (Peaster) and Maiya Dickie (Huntsville). They were also the primary blockers, as Dickie was in on four and Cast on three.

– Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) had ten kills.

– Setters Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) and Aislynn Shore (Hockley – Frassati Catholic) each had double-doubles. Vela had 24 assists and ten digs, while Shore had 21 assists and ten digs.

– Riley Davidson (Commerce) and Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) tied for the team lead in digs with 16 apiece. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The two sides were never able to pull away from each other in the opening set, as neither team scored more than three points in a row, and an early 5-1 Texas Woman’s rally was the closest thing to a run. The Lions had a 23-21 lead before the Pioneers tied it up with two straight points, but a Dickie kill and Emerson Coburn (Lewisville) ace in succession gave the Lions a 25-23 win. The Lions hit .143 in the set with 15 kills. 

The second set was practically a mirror image of the first 30 points until the Lions scored four straight after a 15-all tie. Andersen had two kills in the rally, which put A&M-Commerce ahead 19-15. The Lions held set point at 24-21, but a pair of errors put TWU within striking distance before a Cast kill finished off the set. The Lions hit .205 in the set with 19 kills. 

A&M-Commerce looked to have pulled away in the third set with a 14-9 lead, but two kills from Kaia Saylor and two combo blocks from Tabitha Spray and Gracie Peters put the Pioneers right back into the fray. The teams were unable to separate themselves, answering volleys back and forth. As the match extended and entered extra points, each side hat set point and a match point in the Lions’ case, five times before a three-point run on kills by Shelbi Sheppard (Emory – Rains), Davidson, and Dickie finally gave the home crowd the win. The set was the longest in 25-point history (since 2011) for the Lions by a margin of 11 points. Despite six serve errors and 12 hitting errors in the frame, the Lions still cobbled together 19 kills in the set.

Ramsey earns Scholar-Athlete honors from NFF’s Gridiron Club of Dallas.

DALLAS –Texas A&M University-Commerce football standout Dominique Ramsey will be honored by the National Football Foundation’s Gridiron Club of Dallas as a Scholar-Athlete at the club’s annual awards banquet Sunday. 

Ramsey is one of four collegiate scholar-athletes, and 61 North Texas high school scholar-athletes who will be honored for their accomplishments during the chapter’s virtual Awards Show on Sunday, March 21, at 6 p.m. Due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards show will be pre-taped and streamed here. 

Ramsey (Converse Judson) was named a first-team preseason All-American by Lindy’s Sports and Street & Smith before the cancellation of the 2020 season and will return for the 2021 campaign in the fall. He earned three All-American honors in 2019 and has four postseason All-American awards in his career. He was named First Team All-American as an all-purpose player by the Associated Press and Second Team All-American as both a return specialist and safety by the Division II Conference Commissioners’ Association (D2CCA). Dave Campbell’s Football All-Texas also named the Cliff Harris Award for the small college team. He earned First Team All-Super Region Four honors from the Division II Conference Commissioners Association safety and return specialist. 

He earned Lone Star Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors twice in 2019, ranking second in the nation in kickoff return average at 37.5 yards per return, and second in the LSC, and ninth in the country in punt return average at 14.7 yards per return. His return prowess has seen teams kick away from him insomuch as he did not return a kickoff in the last three regular-season games. He also had 39 tackles, three interceptions, two pass breakups, and two tackles for defense loss. 

Ramsey carries excellent scholastic credentials while double majoring in mathematics and electrical engineering, earning Dean’s List and LSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll distinction six times. He is scheduled to graduate in May and was on the Lone Star Conference’s All-Academic team for the 2019 season. 

“We are extremely proud of the 2021 class of scholar-athletes,” said Gerald Brence, president of the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter and the Plano Independent School District’s former athletics director. “In the 13th year of our chapter, we have the privilege of honoring another group of remarkable high school and collegiate scholar-athletes. These young men excel on the football field and in the classroom, and in their communities. And they did it all in 2020 during the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. We hope they will inspire future student-athletes to succeed in multiple areas of their lives.”

The college and high school candidates were selected based on their athletic accomplishments, academic performance, and community leadership. 

Lion women achieve program-best No. 4 marks in Golfstat rankings.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golf team is ranked fourth nationally in the latest Golfstat statistical rankings, released today.

The Lions opened the 2021 spring season with a one-stroke victory in the Jack Brown Memorial hosted by Texas A&M International, followed by a second-place finish at the Rattler Invitational hosted by St. Mary’s. 

It marks the highest Golfstat ranking in program history for the Lions, whose most elevated season-ending position was 22nd in 2004-05. The Lions ranked seventh nationally a month ago. 

Individually, Sarah Wongsinth (Udon Thani, Thailand) is ranked 36th nationally, Sophie-Charlott Hempel (Pirmasens, Germany) is ranked 45th, and Inma Ortiz Prieto (Huelva, Spain) is 67th.

The Lions are hosting the Lion Invitational at Trophy Club CC following Monday and Tuesday with a strong field. DBU (1 in Golfstat), St. Mary’s (8), Arkansas-Fort Smith (13), Midwestern State (29), Oklahoma Christian (35), Cameron (36), and Texas A&M International (40) all rank in the top 40 nationally and will be in the field.

Division II Women’s Golfstat Rankings — Mar. 17, 2021

Rank Team
1 DBU
2 Limestone
3 Lynn
4 A&M-COMMERCE
5 Anderson
6 Point Loma
7 Florida Southern
8 St. Mary’s
9 Tampa
10 Findlay
11 Biola
12 Indianapolis
13 Arkansas-Fort Smith
14 Flagler
15 Barry
16 Central Missouri
17 Missouri-St. Louis
18 Nova Southeastern
19 West Florida
20 North Georgia
21 Wingate
22 West Texas A&M
23 Carson-Newman
24 Saint Leo
25 Arkansas Tech

Lions match the program record for the highest national ranking at No. 2 in NFCA Coaches Poll.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team has tied the program record for the highest national ranking. The Lions are ranked second nationally in the national coaches’ poll released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Wednesday. 

It marks the 39th consecutive poll in which they ranked A&M-Commerce in the nation’s top 25. They also rated the Lions as the No. 2-team nationally in February of 2019. 

The Lions are 14-4 on the year and are on a 10-game winning streak, including three run-rule wins in their last four contests. The Lions received four first-place votes, and no pollster ranked them lower than second. North Georgia received 12 first-place votes and is the current national No. 1.

A&M-Commerce has eight teams in this top 25 on this year’s schedule, including No. 3 Augustana, No. 6 UT Tyler, No. 8 Oklahoma Christian, No. 9 Rogers State, No. 12 Southern Arkansas, No. 15 Texas A&M-Kingsville, No. 18 West Texas A&M, and No. 24 Angelo State. The Lions are currently 5-1 against teams in the national rankings. 

The Lions return home for a pair of Lone Star Conference doubleheaders this weekend, hosting Midwestern State at 4 p.m. Friday and Texas Woman’s University at 1:00 pm Sunday. 

2021 NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll – March 17

Rank School Points Record Last
1 North Georgia (12) 396 12-0 2
2 A&M-COMMERCE (4) 388 14-4 3
3 Augustana 360 4-2 4
4 Lincoln Memorial 346 18-2 6
5 Rollins 343 4-0 7
6 UT Tyler 320 12-4 8
7 Valdosta State 290 12-3 5
8 Oklahoma Christian 279 15-3 10
9 Rogers State 270 9-3 12
10 Concordia Irvine 249 6-3 9
11 Saint Leo 239 6-2 11
12 Southern Arkansas 237 5-2 1
13 Indianapolis 210 7-1 14
14 Winona State 191 8-0 15
15 Texas A&M-Kingsville 165 12-2 18
Young Harris 165 15-4 17
17 Saint Anselm 157 0-0 16
18 West Texas A&M 136 15-5 19
19 Grand Valley State 103 6-2 20
20 West Chester 83 4-0 21
21 West Florida 63 15-7 23
22 Colorado Mesa 58 8-0 22
23 Central Oklahoma 57 12-4 25
24 Angelo State 27 12-7 24
25 UAH 26 12-6 13

Dropped Out: None.
Receiving Votes: Anderson (10), Western Washington (10), St. Cloud State (9), Shepherd (6), Northwest Nazarene (4), Auburn Montgomery (2), Minnesota State (1).

 

Lions lock up the second seed in LSC Central with the sweep of Texas Woman’s University.

COMMERCE – Led by significant hitting upfront and back solid line defense, the Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team swept Texas Woman’s University in the Field House on Tuesday night. 

Set scores were 25-23, 25-15, and 26-24. 

The Lions move to 5-6 overall and in the Lone Star Conference Central Division, locking up the division’s second seed during next week’s LSC Tournament. Texas Woman’s University is now 3-8 overall and in the LSC Central, needing a win in Wednesday night’s regular-season finale to qualify for the tournament. 

HEAD COACH CRAIG CASE AFTER THE MATCH 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Freshman setter Aislynn Shore (Hockley – Frassati Catholic) earned her first career double-double with 25 assists and 16 digs.

– Nicki Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point) led the Lions with 15 kills and only one error for a .483 hitting percentage. She also had eight digs.

– Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) had 14 kills with a .297 hitting percentage.

– Maddy Rashford (Placentia, Calif.) had 11 error-free kills for a .579 percentage.

– Maiya Dickie (Huntsville) had 11 kills with a .435 percentage and three blocks.

– Riley Davidson (Commerce) had 22 digs and three blocks. Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) had 21 digs.

– The Lions hit .253 in the match with 54 kills while holding TWU to 33 kills, a .109 percentage. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

Texas Woman’s started the match with the momentum, picking up three of their five blocks for the night early in the first set on the way to an 11-6 lead. The Lions steadily narrowed their deficit before a big run on Davidson’s serve. A&M-Commerce scored seven straight points, with three of those coming on Gonelli kills and another three on Andersen kills to take a 20-16 lead. The Pioneers cut that lead down to one point before the Lions edged out to set point at 24-20. TWU stayed alive with three straight Lion miscues, but a Rashford kill ended the set with a 25-23 win for A&M-Commerce. The Lions hit .130 in the set, while TWU hit .057. 

The second set was all Lions, as the home side forced TWU into sideouts on 14-of-15 opportunities while hitting .390 with 19 kills against three errors. The barrage in the middle of the set from A&M-Commerce was immense, stretching a three-point lead out to 20-11 with six straight points. A Gonelli kill punctuated a 25-15 rout and gave the Lions a 2-0 lead. 

The Pioneers did not lay down, though, as the third set featured 18 ties and seven lead changes—neither team led by more than three points at any juncture in the frame. TWU held a 14-11 lead, but a pair of Gonelli kills, a Davidson service ace, and a Pioneer error flipped, leading to the Lions’ favor at 15-14. The Lions finished the match on a 4-1 run, as TWU fought off match point once, but a combo block from Dickie and Shore closed out the sweep with a 26-24 set three win. The Lions hit .273 with 19 kills in the set, while TWU hit .161 with 15 kills.

Sharod Williams named Associate AD for Operations and Competitive Excellence.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced Sharod Williams’s promotion to the position of Associate Director of Athletics for Operations and Competitive Excellence. 

In this position, Williams has oversight of all Lion Athletics facilities and operations, including game operations and capital projects. He is also Lion Athletics’ primary liaison with the University Police Department, SSC, Campus Safety, Operations, and the sport administrator for track and field and direct liaison with the sports performance staff. He is also the chair for the “Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” pillar committee in the Lion Athletics Strategic Plan. 

“We are fortunate in Lion Athletics to have assembled a talented pool of administrators, and Sharod Williams epitomizes our Best in Class mission among that group,” A&M-Commerce director of athletics Tim McMurray said. “His natural skillset with our game environment and operations will blend well with his attention-to-detail and creative mindset for presenting our facilities in a Best in Class fashion. Further, I am equally thrilled he has agreed to – and already begun to impact – our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for Lion Athletics.” 

Williams moves to this position after serving as Director of External Relations since September 2019. In that position, he was responsible for game presentation, which included the implementation and execution of all Lion Athletics marketing plans, in-game promotions, and corporate partner element activations. 

“I am thrilled to be taking on this new role and building upon the great foundation that has already been laid. I’m thankful and appreciative to Tim McMurray for having the confidence in me to execute at this level and continue to grow the Lion Athletics brand,” Williams said. “The Best in Class mission drew me to Commerce, and over the last year and a half, I have been fortunate to live it each day. Whether it be facilities or diversity, equity, and inclusion work, I know that we will continue to be the leaders and innovators in NCAA Division II and beyond.” 

Before joining Lion Athletics in 2019, Williams was the Assistant Commissioner for External Operations at the Conference Carolinas office. He started at the Conference Carolinas office as the Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Communications at Conference Carolinas in 2015 and served as supervisor of the Conference Carolinas Internship Program, and regularly collaborated with the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). 

Williams serves as a leadership development facilitator for various groups in collegiate athletics. He served as a facilitator at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in both fall 2016 and fall 2017, while also facilitating programming for the Southern Conference, Clemson University, USA South, and many others. In 2019 he became a member of the huddle at Huddle Up. 

Williams is currently the chair of Division II Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant Committee and has served on the NCAA Division II Coaching Enhancement Grant Selection Committee from 2016-19, serving as the chair from 2017-19. He also was a member of the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics during the 2018-19 academic year. Other committee service includes the NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse South Regional Advisory Committee and CoSIDA Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Williams is a member of the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Williams has participated in numerous professional development opportunities, including the NCAA Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute, Division II Athletics Directors Association Mentoring Program, and NCAA Effective Facilitation Workshop. 

Williams worked extensively in the Department of Athletics at Coker College. He served as the Assistant Director of Sports Information and Compliance and the SAAC advisor and has held numerous positions since his sophomore year. 

A native of Miami, Fla., Williams holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Communication and a Master of Science in Collegiate Athletic Administration from Coker College. During his time at Coker, a member of the men’s basketball team, Williams was a three-year captain, four-year letter winner, and named on the All-Time Coker men’s basketball team in December 2016.

Ushan Perera named National Field Athlete of the Year by USTFCCCA

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced that Texas A&M University-Commerce freshman high jumper Ushan Perera is the 2021 Division II Indoor National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. Perera is the first Lion to ever win a National Athlete of the Year honor from the USTFCCCA. 

Perera (Mahabage, Sri Lanka) won the high jump at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. Perera’s top clearance of 2.26m (7-5) came on his second attempt of the competition at the height, putting him in a tie for the No. 4 performer all-time in NCAA Division II. He also reset the Sri Lanka national record he broke earlier this season at 2.25m (7-4½). 

Perera successfully cleared the first 14 bars of his collegiate career. His first miss came at the Lone Star Conference Indoor Championships on 2.25m (7-4½) but cleared that height on his second attempt. He was named the South Central Region Field Athlete of the Year before the national meet, and he earned the first team all-LSC honors as the LSC champion in the high jump. 

“Ushan is an outstanding student-athlete, and I’m exceptionally proud of him for earning this award,” said Lion head coach George Pincock. “He’s a very talented jumper who is just getting started on what he can accomplish. I look forward to what he can do as he progresses.”