WT Lady Buffs rally to win LSC Championship

The #9 Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M claimed their 14th overall and seventh straight Lone Star Conference Tournament Championship on Saturday afternoon in a fice set thriller over the host and #11 nationally ranked Belles of Angelo State (25-19, 23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12) in front of over 1,300 fans at the Junell Center in San Angelo, Texas.

â??What an amazing match between two great teams, Angelo played their hearts outâ?? said WT head coach Jason Skoch â??Our senior 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.â??

The win lifts the Lady Buffs to 14-1 all-time in the LSC Tournament 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 using the momentum of the crowd to trade 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 small run highlighted by a block by Lexi Davis and Stormi Lancaster to force a Bell timeout with WT leading 16-15.

With the match tied at 18-18, the Lady Buffs used a kill on the slide play by Erin Dougherty followed by a block by Dougherty and Lacy Hayes to force another timeout by ASUâ??s Chuck Waddington with WT leading 20-18. Dougherty connected on a kill following the break to continue the Lady Buff run, an Angelo attack error was followed by another block by Dougherty and Ashley Davis. Davis connected on a kill down the line to force set point before Angelo responded with an Alex Woosley setter dump 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 ASUâ??s Emily Booth forced a timeout by Jason Skoch with the Belles leading 9-7. Angeloâ??s defense stepped up after the break to extend the ASU lead to 19-14 to force WTâ??s last timeout. A solo block by Booth after the timeout extended the ASU run but the potent Lady Buff offense battled back to cut the ASU lead to 21-19 and force a timeout.

Dougherty connected on the slide play after the timeout followed by two straight Rambelle points followed by a Harton kill and a block error by ASU to cut the Belle lead to 23-22. A pair of Leah McWilliams kills ended the WT rally and gave the Belles the second set, 25-23.

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 Rambelles tied the match at 7-7 and forced a WT timeout. The Belles continued to hit on all cylinders 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 with the momentum as they registered 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 but a pair of kills by ASUâ??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, a service ace by Lauren Beville forced an ASU timeout with the Belles leading 17-13.

The two teams traded blows once again with Lady Buffs using a back-to-back Dougherty kills on the slide play to cut the ASU lead to 21-20 and force a timeout by Chuck Waddington, Dougherty connected on the slide once again to tie the match at 21-21 before a McWilliams kill forced a WT timeout with ASU leading 22-21.

The Lady Buffs continued to use the slide play by Dougherty to tie the match followed by a Hayes attack to the back corner of the court for the lead 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 6-6 and force an ASU timeout. 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 as the two teams switched sides of the court.

A Beville service ace after the switch extended the WT lead to 9-6 followed by a monster kill by ASUâ??s Goode. Lancaster connected on a kill down the line to get the service back to the Lady Buffs followed a setting error by LSC Setter of the Year Alex Woosley forced another ASU timeout with the Lady Buffs leading 11-7.

A huge block by Angelo State gave the Belles the serve after the timeout, Dougherty connected on the slide play once again to extend the WT lead to 12-8. Angelo responded with a Woosley setter dump followed by another Dougherty kill, ASUâ??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 and gave the Lady Buffs their seventh consecutive and 14th overall LSC Tournament Championship.

The Lady Buffs were led offensively by Stormi Lancaster with 18 kills and 23 digs followed by Tournament MVP Erin Dougherty who finished the match with 17 kills, Halie Harton registered a double-double with 15 kills and 19 digs. Lacy Hayes was named to the All-Tournament team with her third double-double of the tournament with 56 assists and 11 digs along with fellow All-Tournament team member Lauren Beville with a match leading 31 digs. The Lady Buffs hit .221 as a team with 23 attack errors and 12 total blocks.

The Rambelles were led by Maddie Huth with a match high 23 kills followed by Shelbi Goode with 13 while temmates Emily Booth and Leah McWilliams with 12 kills each. Alex Woosley dished out a match high 59 assists on the afternoon while Shelby Wilt registered 25 digs followed by Haley Bianco with 24. The Belles hit .201 as a team with 27 attack errors and 11 total blocks.

The Lady Buffs, who entered the week in sixth place in the South Central Regional rankings, claim the leagueâ??s automatic bid into the NCAA Division II National Tournament, the complete bracket will be announced on Sunday night on starting at 9 p.m.