#6 Lady Buffs Top #20 Belles in Four Sets for South Central Regional Championship

The #6 Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M dropped the opening set but rebounded for their 13th overall and second straight South Central Regional Championship on Saturday night as they topped the #20 Belles of Angelo State in four sets (22-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-16) in front of over 1,000 fans at the WTAMU Fieldhouse â??The Boxâ?? in Canyon. The Lady Buffs move to 34-3 overall this season while Angelo State ends their campaign at 25-7.

â??Angelo demonstrated last night what we needed to do to win, this is such a good rivalry that it doesnâ??t matter how many sets each team played last night that it was going to be a dog fightâ?? said WT head coach Jason Skoch â??I thought we had some girls really rise to the occasion and take control of the match, the crowd was great tonight and they have been all season.â??

The opening set saw the teams come out swinging as they split the opening 24 points of the frame before a 4-0 run by the Belles forced a Lady Buffs timeout with ASU leading 16-12, the teams continued to trade blows before a small WT run was highlighted by a huge solo block by Lexi Davis as ASU took their first timeout with the 18-17 lead.

The Belles committed an attack error to tie the match followed by an ASU net violation, the Belles responded to take the 21-19 lead into a WT timeout. Davis connected on a shot in the deep corner as WT cut the Angelo lead to 23-22 to force a Belles timeout. Angelo took the opening set with two straight points for the 25-22 win.

The second set saw the Belles come out swinging as they took the early 11-5 advantage to force a Lady Buff timeout, the Lady Buffs made a run of their own to force an ASU timeout with the Belles leading 11-8. The crowd erupted following a held ball call on the Lady Buffs but it seemed to spark the team as they tied the match and forced another Belle timeout at 13-13. Laura Iwuchukwu and Lauren Bevan connected on a block followed by a Davis service ace to continue the run, the Lady Buffs closed out the set on a Davis kill to take the 25-18 win.

The third set saw the Lady Buffs take the early lead as Lauren Britten tallied a pair of service aces to force a Belles timeout with WT leading 8-4, WT continued to roll after the break as they took advantage of Belle attack error to force another ASU timeout with the 17-9 lead. The Lady Buffs closed out the set on a 8-5 run for the 25-14 victory.

The fourth set saw the teams trade the first 16 points of the frame before a 4-1 WT run highlighted by a block by Davis and Lee Golden to force an Angelo timeout with the Lady Buffs leading 12-9, the Belles fought back to cut the WT lead to 15-12 heading into a Lady Buff timeout. WT took over the set following the break as they forced another timeout following an Iwuchukwu kill at 21-14, WT closed out the set on a 4-2 run for the programâ??s 13th Regional Championship.

The Lady Buffs were led offensively by Iwuchukwu with 13 kills followed by Harton with 14 kills and a match leading 24 digs for the double-double, Kameryn Hayes dished out a team high 35 assists on the night while Lauren Britten tallied 15 digs while Hayes had 12 for her own double-double.

WT hit .224 as a team with 16 attack errors, 46 assists, 79 digs and 10.0 total blocks on the night while the Belles hit .086 with 35 attack errors, 47 assists, 76 digs and 5.0 blocks in the match.

The Belles were led by Arielle Bond with a match high 14 kills followed by Maddie Huth with nine and Leah McWilliams with eight. Maggi Jo Keffury led all players with 38 assists on the night while Shelby Wilt had 16 digs in the match.

The Lady Buffs claim the programâ??s 13th Regional Championship with the win and advance to their second straight NCAA Division II Elite Eight to be held next weekend at U.S. Cellular Center Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Lady Buffs will take on LIU-Post who swept New Haven in the East Regional Finals earlier today.