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TAMUC – Sports

Lion Football shuts out UTPB, 41-0, highlighted by a 100-yard touchdown by Shillow.

COMMERCE – Entering the day with the second-ranked total defense in NCAA Division II, the Texas A&M University-Commerce football certainly proved that those numbers were not a lie. They shut out UT-Permain Basin, who had the same Lone Star Conference record as A&M-Commerce, coming into Memorial Stadium on Saturday by a score of 41-0. 

The Lions put up their second straight shutout at home, and their defense has allowed just 16 points in their last five games. The Lion defense held UTPB to 167 yards of total offense on Saturday, forcing five turnovers and recording seven sacks. 

Every game is crucial for the Lions in their push for the NCAA Division II Playoffs, and they now hold an overall record of 6-3 with two games to go. They sit in sole possession of second place in the LSC with a 4-1. The loss drops UTPB to a 5-3 overall and 3-2 in LSC play. 

The Lion defense entered this week with the fourth-best passing defense. They averaged 118.8 yards per game, 16th best rushing defense with an average of 90.1 yards, second-best total defense, allowing 208.9 yards per game, and the seventh-best scoring defense, with an average of 13.1 points per game allowed, in NCAA Division II. 

They allowed below their average in all but one of those categories on Saturday. UTPB had 120 passing yards, 47 yards rushing for a total of 167 yards while scoring no points. 

Both defenses started in the front in this one as neither team scored in the first quarter. However, the Lions got their first points of the evening on the first play of the second quarter via a four-yard touchdown run by Carandal Hale (Greenville). 

J.T. Smith (Klein Oak) doubled the lead in the second quarter with an 11-yard touchdown rush. Smith took the direct snap and ran left for six points. 

On the second play from scrimmage on the next UTPB drive, Daryion Taylor (Humble – Atascocita) intercepted a pass from the Falcons’ Clayton Roberts and returned it for 17 yards, just outside the red zone. 

In the first play after the interception, Andrew Armstrong (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Miklo Smalls (Plano East) to give the Lions a 21-0 lead at halftime. 

The Lion defense allowed 29 yards in the second quarter and just 55 in the first half. 

Starting the second half with the ball, the Lions made it 24-0 on a 34-yard field goal by Jake Viquez (Rockwall), who also kicked in a 42-yard field goal in the quarter. Viquez went 2 for 3 in field-goal attempts in the game, missing 52 yards in the fourth quarter. 

Darius Williams (Fort Worth – Arlington Heights) picked off Clayton Roberts, who had three interceptions in the game, and returned it for a 25-yard touchdown, but they brought it back due to a penalty. 

Armstrong and Smalls ensured that the Lions did not have a long wait for the touchdown as they connected for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive. Smalls threw for 138 yards on 12 for 21 passing and had the two touchdowns to Armstrong. He also had an interception. 

Becoming Smalls’ favorite target near the endzone, Armstrong had 81 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. He has caught three touchdowns in the last two home games. 

The Falcons went for it on fourth down on their next drive. However, the Falcons failed to convert and gave the ball to the Lions in their territory. 

Getting excellent field position, the Lions failed to capitalize and turned it over on an interception thrown by Smalls to Nygel King. 

Putting together its best drive of the day, the Falcons marched down the field and had a chance to score with first and goal at the eight-yard line. 

On first down, Roberts threw a pass to the left corner, intercepted by Alex Shillow (Pflugerville), about three yards in the end zone, and the senior defensive back had a clear look at the other end zone. 

Shillow returned the interception for a 100-yard touchdown, tying the NCAA and program record for the most extended play. The 100-yard interception return for a touchdown was 14th in Lone Star Conference history, 65th in NCAA Division II history, and just the third in NCAA Division II this year. 

That play matched Cory Whitfield’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in 2011 against Texas A&M-Kingsville. 

Toward the end of the game, Kyevon Rider (Whitehouse) also interceptions, coming against the Falcons’ backup quarterback, Suddin Sapien. 

Celestin Haba (Columbia, S.C.) had the other takeaway for the Lions, a sack-fumble recovered by Brenden Young (Little Rock, Ark.). 

Shillow led the team with six tackles, including one for a loss. 

In the game, the Lions sacked the Falcons seven times. Dominion Ezinwa (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and Haba had 1.5 each, Jaylon Hodge (Houston – Fort Bend Travis) and Clifford Funderburk (North Forney) had one each. In contrast, Ben Hutch (Old Hickory, Tenn.), Anthony Hayes (Panama City, Fla.), Devin Beamon (North Forney), and Champ Mathis (DeSoto) had 0.5 each. 

As a linebacker throughout the season thus far, Jemal Williams (Inglewood, Calif.) lined up as a running back on Saturday and had 34 yards on five carries. His longest run was 23 yards. Koby Leavatts (Cy Falls) led the team with 59 yards on seven rushes. His longest carry was 36 yards.

UP NEXT

Next week, the Lions hit the road one last time in the regular season at Angelo State, who is ranked No. 5 in the latest NCAA Division II Super Region IV rankings. The kickoff is 6:00 pm on Saturday, November 6, against the Rambelles.

Lion Volleyball downs Texas Woman’s, 3-0, completes a 3-0 week at home.

COMMERCE – In its third match this week at the Field House, the Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team swept the Texas Woman’s University, 3-0 on Saturday afternoon, winning all nine sets at home this week. 

Three matches remain in the regular season for the Lions. They are in fifth place in the Lone Star Conference standings with a 10-4 and drop the Pioneers to a record of 8-16 overall. A&M-Commerce still has two matches left against teams ahead of it in the standings or have the same record. 

A&M-Commerce fought off a set point to win the first set, 26-24, rolled in the second set, 25-19, and cruised in the third, 25-15. 

Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) had a double-double with 32 assists and ten digs. Essence Allen (Longview – Tatum) fell one kill short of a double-double. She had nine kills and 12 digs. Taryn Cast (Peaster) recorded eight kills and three assisted blocks. Vela and Karena Tipton (Midlothian – Heritage) had three assisted blocks each as well. 

The stats leader for the Lions were Maddy Rashford (Placentia, Calif.) with 12 kills, Allen with two aces and 12 digs, and Vela with 32 assists. 

Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) had 11 digs, Riley Davidson (Commerce) had eight digs, and Vela fell four kills shy of a triple-double with six kills, among other notable performances Saturday afternoon. 

The Lions started the match on a 9-3 run. It was on a kill by Vela and maintained a lead for most of the first set. A kill by Rashford gave A&M-Commerce a 22-16 lead, but the Pioneers went on an 8-1 run to have a chance to escape the first set with a win. 

Trailing 24-23 in the first set, the Lions benefitted from a service error to tie the set and had a chance to win the set following an assisted block by Cast and Vela. However, an attacking error by the Pioneers gave the Lions a 26-24 first set win. 

The Lions hit .395 in the set and held the Pioneers to a hitting percentage of .114. 

Nicki Gonelli’s (Round Rock – Stony Point) kill secured the first point of the second set for the Lions, who did not trail in the set and led by as many as six points multiple times in the set. Finally, a kill by Cast gave the Lions the second set win, 25-19. 

Seventeen of the 25 points won in the set for the Lions came via kills, and they hit .516 in the set and withstood the Pioneers hitting .286. Rashford had five kills, Allen had four, and Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) had three. 

A block by Cast and Vela gave the Lions a five-point lead in the third set, and they closed out the set on a 6-0 run to win 25-15. 

The Pioneers hit .000 in the third set, and the Lions had 19 digs in the set. They had 53 as a team in the match.

This week against Southeastern Oklahoma State, DBU, and Texas Woman’s, A&M-Commerce won all nine sets this week.

Campuzano and Morrison score in shutout of Eastern New Mexico

PORTALES, N.M. – The two scoring leaders for the Texas A&M University-Commerce soccer team, Leslie Campuzano and Karalie Morrison, scored in the Lions’ 2-0 win at Eastern New Mexico on Saturday afternoon at Greyhound Field. 

The Lions are in a tie for eighth place in the Lone Star Conference standings with a record of 5-5-1 going into the season’s final week. They hold an overall record of 7-7-2. The Greyhounds are 0-10-1 in LSC play and 2-13-1 overall. 

A&M-Commerce had 18 shots in the match, with Campuzano (Garland – Lakeview Centennial) and Morrison (North Richland Hills – Colleyville Heritage) having 11. 

Morrison’s goal came in the 22nd minute to give the Lions an early lead. Campuzano sent a long pass towards Morrison, who made a couple of moves to shed off her defenders and put it on the right side of the net for the 11th goal of her freshman campaign. She is tied for the second-most goals in the conference this year. 

The Greyhounds had nine shots in the match, four on goal, all stopped by Jen Peters (Allen) for the Lions’ sixth shutout of the season. Whitney Dockweiler saw 11 shots on goal on the other side. She stopped at nine. 

With five minutes left to go in the match, Campuzano provided a much-needed insurance goal for the Lions in the 86th minute. 

Following a Lion’s throw-in, the Greyhounds were looking to clear the ball, which Kara Blasingame (Oswego, Ill.) blocked, who kicked it towards goal. Still, ENMU blocked her shot, who also tried to clear it, but Campuzano got in the way and sailed a kick into the net. 

Campuzano is tied for the fifth-most goals in the LSC, with nine in her final season in Commerce. 

Mindy Shoffit (Wichita Falls) had four shots, including two on goal. Selena Casias and Samantha Vazquez had two shots each for the Greyhounds. 

UP NEXT

The Lions conclude the regular season this week. A&M-Commerce is in Laredo against Texas A&M International on Wednesday at 3:00 pm and hosts Oklahoma Christian for Senior Day on Saturday, November 6 at 2:00 pm.

Lion Volleyball sweeps DBU, 3-0 on Dig Pink Night.

COMMERCE – In a battle of teams that entered the day with similar Lone Star Conference records, the Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team drubbed the Dallas Baptist University Patriots, 3-0 in one hour 16 minutes on Friday night. It was part of Dig Pink Night at the Field House. 

The Lions rallied to take the first set, 25-21, won the second set with the same score and clinched the match with a 25-18 win in the third set. A&M-Commerce has won nine of its last ten conference matches and holds a 9-4 with four matches remaining. The Patriots are 10-5 overall and 7-5 in conference play. 

A&M-Commerce hit .270 in the match against DBU, which allowed opponents to hit .177 coming into the game and restricted the Patriots to hit .106 in the game. The Lions had 13 total blocks in the match, with Maiya Dickie (Huntsville) having one solo and six assisted, Taryn Cast (Peaster) having two solos and three assisted. Nicki Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point) had four helped. 

Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) continued her LSC-leading pace of over ten assists per set. She had 31 on Friday night. In addition, lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) had 12 digs, Riley Davidson (Commerce) had eight, and Essence Allen (Longview – Tatum) had seven. 

The Lions served exceptionally well all match, serving to a percentage of .918, and had nine aces. Aislynn Shore (Hockley – Frassati Catholic) had four aces. Cast had two. 

Maddy Rashford (Placentia, Calif.) had 11 kills, Allen had nine, and Gonelli had six. 

The Patriots jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first set. The Lions won seven of the next nine to tie it at eight on an attacking error by DBU. Trailing 13-12 in the first set, the Lions won seven of the next eight to take a 19-14 lead on back-to-back aces by Shore. 

DBU tied it at 19, but a kill by Allen gave the Lions a 20-19 lead, and they won five of the following seven points to win the set, 25-21 on a kill by Rashford. 

In the second set, the Lions had the early edge. They led 6-4 on a kill by Allen and stayed in the front till 16-14 on a kill by Dickie. DBU won the following four points to lead 18-16. 

Following a timeout called by coach Craig Case, the Lions tied it at 18 and took a 21-19 lead on a block by Cast, forcing DBU to use one of its timeouts. However, a&M-Commerce won two of the following three points and closed out the set, 25-21, on a kill by Allen. 

The Lions started the third set on a 4-0 run but quickly trailed 9-5 in the set. A block by Rashford tied the match back up at 10, but they fell behind again, losing 14-11. 

A kill by Rashford started a 7-0 run for the Lions to take an 18-14 lead on a kill by Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.). DBU won the following three points to pull to within one, but the Lions lost just one point for the rest of the match and clinched their ninth conference win on a kill by Reese Fetty (Farmersville). 

With four matches left in the conference schedule for the Lions, they stand in sixth place. Two of the remaining four games are against the top five teams in the standings.

UP NEXT

A&M-Commerce welcomes the Pioneers of Texas Woman’s University to the Field House on Saturday at 1:00 pm.