SAN ANGELO, Texas – West Texas A&M claimed its 14th overall and seventh consecutive Lone Star Conference Tournament title on Saturday in a five-set thriller against Angelo State (25-19, 23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12) in front of 1,300 fans at the Junell Center.
“What an amazing match between two great teams, Angelo played their hearts out,” WT head coach Jason Skoch said. “Our seniors willed us to that win for sure. They have that never-lose attitude in these big matches and it showed with how everyone of them played.”
The win lifts the Lady Buffs to 14-1 all-time in the LSC title match and it also hands the Belles the first loss of the season at the Junell Center.
A Halie Harton kill started off the scoring in the match, followed by both teams trading blows before back-to-back kills by the Belles forced a WT timeout with Angelo leading 12-10. The Lady Buffs responded after the break with a short run highlighted by blocks from Lexi Davis and Stormi Lancaster to force a Angelo State timeout with WT leading 16-15.
With the match tied at 18, the Lady Buffs used a kill by Erin Dougherty followed by a block by Dougherty and Lacy Hayes to force another timeout by ASU with WT leading 20-18. Dougherty connected on a kill following the break to continue the Lady Buff run. Davis connected on a kill down the line to force set point before Angelo responded with an Alex Woosley kill before an ASU attack error ended the set with WT finishing off a 7-1 run with a 25-29 win.
The second set started off just like the first with the two teams battling back and forth before back-to-back kills by ASU’s Emily Booth forced a timeout by West Texas with the Belles leading 9-7. Angelo’s defense stepped up after the break to extend the ASU lead to 19-14 to forcing WT’s last timeout. A solo block by Booth after the timeout extended the ASU run, but the Lady Buffs battled back to cut the ASU lead to 21-19.
The third set started off with the Lady Buffs offense taking control with an early 7-4 lead before a 3-0 run by the Belles tied the match at seven and forced a WT timeout. The Belles continued to hit after the break to go on an 8-5 run to force another WT timeout with ASU leading 15-12. The Rambelle defense stepped up big after the break to extend their lead to 22-16 with numerous blocks at the net, a blocking error by the Lady Buffs followed by a Huth kill forced set point for the Belles. A Dougherty kill on the slide play cut the ASU lead to 24-18 but Huth kill on the slide gave the Belles the 25-18 win.
The Belles started off the fourth set registering seven of the first nine points of the set to force an early WT timeout as the Belles led 7-2. Lancaster registered three big kills after the break to cut the Angelo lead to 10-6. A pair of kills by ASU’s Huth stretched the Belle lead to 14-7. A pair of Lady Buff attack errors were followed by back-to-back blocks by Lancaster and a service ace by Lauren Beville forced an ASU timeout with the Belles leading 17-13.
The Lady Buffs continued to use the slide play by Dougherty to tie the match followed by a Hayes attack. Once again, Harton connected on back-to-back kills to win the fourth set 25-22.
The Belles jumped out to an early 6-3 lead in the fifth and deciding set before a Lancaster kill down the line sparked a 3-0 Lady Buff run to tie the match at six. Dougherty went to the slide play once again for the lead followed by a block by Dougherty and Kameryn Hayes to take the 8-6 lead.
A Beville service ace after the switch extended the WT lead to 9-6 followed by a kill by ASU’s Goode. Lancaster connected on a kill down the line to get the service back to the Lady Buffs followed a setting error by Alex Woosley to force another ASU timeout with the Lady Buffs leading 11-7.
A block by Angelo State gave the Belles the serve after the timeout. Dougherty connected on the slide play to extend the WT lead to 12-8. Angelo responded with a Woosley setter kill followed by another Dougherty kill. ASU’s Huth connected on the slide play followed by a solo block by Goode to force a WT timeout with the Lady Buffs leading 13-11.
A Harton killed forced set point for the Lady Buffs followed by a Huth kill to give the serve back to the Belles, a kill by Harton ended the match.
The Lady Buffs were led offensively by Lancaster with 18 kills and 23 digs followed by Dougherty who finished the match with 17 kills, Harton registered a double-double with 15 kills and 19 digs. Hayes was named to the All-Tournament team with her third double-double with 56 assists and 11 digs along with fellow All-Tournament team member Beville with a match leading 31 digs.