Oct. 29, 2010

Courtesy of West Texas A&M

STEPHENVILLE, Texas - The 2010 West Texas A&M Volleyball team now has its own place in the records books after defeating Tarleton at Wisdom Gym on Thursday night, recording the program s 78th consecutive win over a Lone Star Conference opponent.

WTAMU surpassed its own mark of 77 consecutive victories over a conference opponent set from Sept. 18, 1999, to Oct. 10, 2003, and now has the top two streaks all time in NCAA Division II history.

The win did not come easy for the Lady Buffs though as the TexAnns gave it everything they had and more, taking WT to five sets for the first time ever in the all-time series. But in the end, it was the Lady Buffs (20-8, 12-0 LSC) who came away with the victory, defeating the TexAnns (20-8, 6-5 LSC) 25-20, 24-26, 25-21, 17-25, 21-19.

The Lady Buffs opened the first set with a 25-20 win behind six kills from Lauren Thedford. Erika Dupree added nine assists and Keidra Williams tallied a pair of blocks as well. WT led 20-13 at one point in the set, but a 5-0 run pushed Tarleton back into the game, down 20-18. The Lady Buffs regained their composure following a time out and recorded five of the next seven points to go up 1-0.

WT had a 12-10 lead midway through the second set, but an 8-1 run from the TexAnns put Tarleton on top 18-13 before Erin Dougherty connected on a kill to stop the run at 18-14. That point spurred an 8-1 run from the Lady Buffs who went back on top 21-19. Each team traded back-to-back points to make it a 23-21 set still in favor of the Lady Buffs, but Tarleton took four of the next five points to go up 25-24 and then won the game on a blocking error by WT.

The match continued to stay tight throughout the third set until the Lady Buffs went on a 5-0 run to take a 20-15 lead late in the game. Tarleton climbed back into the set with a 4-2 run of their own, but WT was able to close out the set with kills from Ashley Davis and Thedford to go up 2-1 in the match. Davis finished the set with four kills, while Dupree tallied 11 assists. The Lady Buffs hit .364 in the set, just ahead of Tarleton s .310 hitting percentage.

The TexAnns opened the third set with a 6-5 lead and then went on a 7-1 run to take a commanding 13-6 lead midway through the game. WT followed with a 4-1 run to cut the deficit to 15-10, but Tarleton won the next two points to go back on top by six, 16-10. WT won the ensuing sideout, but a 7-3 run from the TexAnn put Tarleton in command, up 23-15. WT took two of the next three points but Tarleton s Stacie Murrah s attack went off of Lauren Beville s dig attempt to give the TexAnns the win and tie the match 2-2.

Tarleton opened the final set with a 3-2 lead, but WT came back with a 4-1 run and then a 5-1 run to take an 11-6 lead. WT then built its lead to 14-7 before a 7-0 run from the TexAnns tied everything at 14-14. Both teams traded points before Tarleton took a 17-16 lead to go up match point. WT responded though and the two teams continued to trade points until the Lady Buffs went up match point at 20-19. Stormi Lancaster had 12 kills in the match at that point, and then put down her 13th to give WT the win and secure the NCAA s longest win streak over a conference opponent in Division II.

Thedford finished the night with a team-high 16 kills and Lancaster followed with her 13. She led all players with a .455 hitting percentage, just behind Tarleton s Flynn Harrell who finished the match with a game-high 18 kills on .424 hitting.

Erika Dupree set a new career-high with 49 assists and finished with 11 digs for her 16th double-double of the season. Thedford tallied 18 digs on the night and she recorded her 11th double-double.

The Lady Buffs will take a break from LSC action for the next week, but will play a pair of non-conference matches over the weekend. WT first travels to Austin tomorrow to take on St. Edward s and will then play St. Mary s on Saturday.