Lauren Paslay led all players with 15 kills and shared the team lead with 17 digs, but it wasn't enough as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi fell 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23) to UT Martin in its first match of the 2008 season on the opening day of the Lady Govs Volleyball Classic.
A&M-Corpus Christi will face host Austin Peay tomorrow at 10 a.m. before closing out the tournament with Southland Conference rival Northwestern State 4 p.m. The team returns home to host the Islander Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Invitational next weekend as Colorado, UALR and Texas Southern visit Moody Field House.
The Islanders jumped out to 1-0 advantage winning the first set 25-23. The tandem of Beth Fionda and Paslay led the way with six kills apiece. The two combined to have just one error on 19 attacks in the opening game.
A&M-Corpus Christi took an early 4-1 lead in the opening set, but found itself down 13-8 after a kill by Taylor Noland, who had seven kills in 10 attempts in the opening contest with no errors. Beth Fionda capped a 7-2 spurt by the Islanders that tied the game at 15.
UTM regained the lead and led by two, 23-21, before A&M-Corpus Christi scored the final four points. Fionda had a pair of kills and combined with Amber Benjamin on a block as the Islanders took the early 1-0 lead.
The Islanders led 3-2 early in the second set, but trailed for most. After a Molly McCabe service ace pulled TAMUCC to within 11-10, the Skyhawks' Katherine Godina capped a 6-1 run with a kill. The Islanders did not give in tying the game at 18 on an ace by Fionda, but UTM closed the game with a 7-2 run.
The third game was a see-saw battle as neither team led by more than a point until the Islanders scored three straight with the game deadlocked at 12. Paslay broke the tie with an ace, while Kasey McBrearty and Benjamin each posted kills for a 15-12 advantage.
A&M-Corpus Christi, would struggle with its hitting down the stretch hitting a match-low .130 in the third game. Back-to-back errors by Fionda allowed UTM to lead 20-19. A kill and ace by Paslay tied the game at 22, but the Islanders could not close the game out.
In the final game, the Islanders led by three on two occasions early. An ace by Whitney Wehring gave the team a 7-4 advantage, while Paslay knocked down a kill for an 8-5 Islander lead. A&M-Corpus Christi was unable to pull away and trailed by no more than two points until late in the match.
After a solo block by Benjamin on Lauren Montague tied the game at 20, the Skyhawks scored three straight points. Jenna Miller's ace pushed UTM ahead 23-20.
The Islanders pulled to within one at 24-23 on a kill by Meagan Luber and block assist by Luber and Paslay, but could not finish off the comeback as Godina ended the match with her eighth kill.
Three Islanders finished with double-digit kills with hitting percentages over .300. Paslay had 15 kills with two errors in 41 attempts, while Benjamin led the team with a .320 percentage with 12 kills on 25 attempts and four errors. Fionda added 10 kills in 23 attempts with three errors for a .304 mark as the Islanders hit .164 as a team. Paslay and Wehring led the way with 17 digs, while McCabe dug up 13 balls. McCabe led all players with 49 assists. Paslay led the team with four blocks, while Benjamin added three.
Montague and Noland finished with 14 and 13 kills respectively to lead the Skyhawks who hit .189 as a team. Four players recorded at least 11 digs led by Godina with 20.