Tarleton State seemed to be in complete control Friday night against Midwestern State at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The TexAnns had cruised to comfortable wins in the opening two sets before building a seemingly insurmountable 19-9 lead in the third set.
Tarleton State would never see a match point.
The Mustangs displayed grit and determination in grasping momentum away from TSU with a 16-4 to pull off an unlikely 20-25, 17-25, 25-23, 27-25, 15-11 victory to snap a five-game home court skid to improve to 12-9 on the season and to 4-7 in LSC play.
Senior middle blocker Caitlin Wallace, sophomore outside hitter Marissa Olivares and freshman middle blocker keyed the turnaround with help from Madelyn Johnson, who took over libero duties in the third set.
Wallace blasted 11 of her match-high 17 kills over the final three sets while adding seven digs and five total blocks with several smart, nifty plays at the net.
Olivares notched her second consecutive double-double with an impressive 13-kill, 23-dig effort to go along with a pair of blocks, while Garfield added 10 kills and two blocks of her own.
Johnson posted 20 of her 21 digs over the final three sets to key an exceptional back line effort with help from sophomore Nicole Marzik, who finished with 15 digs.
The Mustangs' big third-set comeback kept them in the match, but a solid 6-2 closing run in the fourth gave them control after falling behind 23-21 late in the frame.
Midwestern used a solid service game from Olivares to run of six consecutive points in the deciding set then the first match point on a Beatriz Villalba ace at 14-9.
The TexAnns shook off two points before Olivares put away the winner.
Stacie Murrah had 17 kills to pace the Tarleton attack, while Kaitlyn White had nine kills and nine digs to lead the TexAnns at the net. Tarleton State fell to 12-9 and 5-4.
Midwestern State takes on No. 19 Angelo State Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. First serve is set for 2 p.m.
It may of taken 55 matches and four years, but the moment couldn't have been bigger for Midwestern State's Anna Molen.
The senior defender's first collegiate goal lifted the Mustangs to an important 1-0 win over West Texas A&M Friday night at The Pitch in Canyon.
"It was a brilliant shot hammered in from 20 yards out," MSU coach Jeff Trimble said. "She's the heart and soul of our back line. For her to do that against WT here, it was great for her."
The win improves the Mustangs to 10-4-1 overall and 5-2-1 in Lone Star Conference play combined with a scoreless draw by Angelo State (6-1-1) Friday night at Eastern New Mexico draws MSU within a win of obtaining at least a share of its fourth league title.
"It's in our hands now and that's what we want," Trimble said. "But Eastern is a very tough place to play."
The Mustangs take on the Zias Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. (Central Time) before closing out LSC play Friday afternoon at Angelo State. MSU would clinch a share of the championship with two wins or an outright title with two wins and a Rambelle loss at West Texas A&M on Sunday.
The Mustangs took advantage of one of its three corner kicks in the 60th minute.
Junior midfielder Katy Catney served a ball toward the far post which was challenged for by senior Mickey Brown sending a loose ball in the box.
Freshman defender Haley Britton redirected the ball to Molen, who ripped it in from just outside of the box for the lone score of the game.
Molen became the 10th player to score a goal for the Mustangs this season and the sixth player to notch a game winner.
"All of them are working are very hard. The fact that everyone is contributing means they are buying in. We're winning games by one goal with different players scoring," Trimble said. "The girls are doing a good job of taking one game at a time. They are just trying to play good soccer and outwork the opponent."
Senior goalkeeper Kallie Essary continued her solid play in the net making five stops on her way to her sixth clean sheet of the season and the third in the last four games.
Berklee Watson led a game WT effort with four shots putting two on fame as the Lady Buffs managed six shots per half.
"WT played great. They are a good team that works very hard," Trimble said. "Up until the point we scored, they had the majority of the good chances."
The win gives the Mustangs a 4-2 advantage in the First United Bank Highway 287 Challenge Cup series.
Junior Dan Johns converted a penalty kick in the 88th minute to give No. 7-ranked Midwestern State its first and only lead of the match in a 3-2 win over Texas A&M International Friday night at the MSU Soccer Field.
"This prepares us because if we are fortunate enough to get into the playoffs, this is what we're going to get whether we play here or somewhere else," MSU coach Doug Elder said. "The intensity is going to be high and the pressure is going to be high. That means the work rate has to be high, too."
MSU extended its unbeaten streak to nine matches and now has won each of its last four games to improve to 9-3-1 on the season.
Texas A&M International (7-7) didn't make it easy scoring a pair of impressive goals in the opening half as Jovany Macias found the net in the game's 8th minute for his fourth goal of the season and Adrian Elicerio notched his second tally of the year in the 16th minute.
But just as in its season, the Mustangs just found a way to make the best of the situation.
Sophomore Idrissa Camara answered the first goal heading in a nicely struck corner kick off the boot of Andrew Power in the 14th minute then Johns one-time in his first goal of the night on a second equalizer in the 23rd minute.
The teams played evenly throughout the opening half with matching 7-7 shot totals before MSU took the edge 11-6 following intermission.
A&M International's Camilo Botero was called for a hand ball in the center of the box in the 88th minute resulting in Johns' game winner.
"We were resilient again and we fought back," Elder said. "We hung in there, but credit the opponent. They played really, really hard. They have seven losses and don't see how. We're happy to get the win."
The Mustangs hit the road to take on Southern Nazarene Tuesday night in Bethany, Okla. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.