A four-set win against rival St. Edward’s this past Saturday secured the UAFS volleyball team no less than a share of its third-consecutive, regular-season Heartland Conference title.
The Lady Lions, however, aren’t in the sharing mood.
UAFS will finish the regular season this week with a pair of conference road matches at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Texas A&M International and at noon on Saturday at St. Mary’s. A win in either match will give the Lady Lions the outright title. A Lubbock Christian loss to St. Edward’s will also give UAFS the outright title.
The Lady Lions (21-4, 13-1) have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which they will host for the third-consecutive time at the Stubblefield Center on Nov. 14-15.
UAFS will play the No. 4 seed at 5 p.m. and No. 2 seed St. Edward’s will play the No. 3 seed at 7:30 p.m. in the first round on Nov. 14. The championship match will be at 1 p.m. on Nov. 15.
The winner of the conference tournament will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II South Central Region Tournament.
UAFS, which is ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Division II South Central Region poll, will carry a seven-match winning streak into Thursday’s match against Texas A&M International. The Lady Lions will look to sweep the regular-season series against the Dust Devils, who lost in three sets in the first encounter on Oct. 4 at the Stubblefield Center.
It will be the 12th meeting in the all-time series between the two teams, which UAFS leads 10-1. Texas A&M International’s only win in the series was a five-set victory on Oct. 20, 2011, at the Kinesiology and Convocation Building in Laredo, Texas.
UAFS is hitting at a 0.239 clip with four players averaging 2 or more kills per set. Senior outside hitter Michelle Walker, who is the reigning Conference Player of the Year and six-time Hitter of the Week this season, leads the Lady Lions with 335 kills and 4.04 kills per set.
Freshman setter Bailey Katzfey leads the team with 906 assists and 11.19 assists per set and leads the team with 24 aces.
Defensively, UAFS is holding opponents to only a 0.128 hitting percentage. Senior middle hitter Jessica Anderson leads the team with 73 total blocks and 0.87 blocks per set. Sophomore libero Emily Tripp, who has been named Conference Libero of the Week seven times this season, leads the team with 546 digs and 6.5 digs per set.
Texas A&M International (4-18, 3-11) is in eighth place in the nine-team conference and has been eliminated from postseason contention. The Dustdevils are coming off a three-set loss to the Newman Lady Jets on Saturday at Fugate Gymnasium in Wichita, Kan. Texas A&M International’s only conference wins were against Oklahoma Panhandle State (twice) and St. Mary’s.
The Dustdevils are hitting at a 0.124 clip with two players averaging 2 or more kills per set. Junior outside hitter Miaje Hubbard and senior outside hitter Alex Ciszek lead the team with 195 and 169 kills, respectively, and 2.95 and 2.41 kills per set, respectively. Junior setter Lizzie Prieto leads the team with 560 assists and 8 assists per set and leads the team with 22 aces.
Defensively, Texas A&M International is holding opponents to a 0.240 hitting percentage. Prieto leads the team with 41 total blocks and 0.59 blocks per set. Senior libero Sophia Quinones leads the team with 312 digs and 4.27 digs per set.