After picking up a win against Texas Southern on the first day of the Islander Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Invitational, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team dropped a pair of three-set matches on the second day. The Islanders fell 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, and 33-31) in their morning match to UALR, before closing out the two-day tourney with a loss to tournament champion Colorado 25-11, 25-23, and 25-11.
With the loss, A&M-Corpus Christi falls to 1-5, while Colorado is now 6-0 on the season.
Senior Lauren Paslay recorded 14 kills in the match against UALR (5-1) to pace the team for the second-straight match while Kasey McBrearty notched 10 kills. Freshman Whitney Wehring continued to impress, leading the Islanders with 11 digs. Wehring has led the Islanders in digs in every match on the season.
The Islanders fell behind early in the first match by a score of 8-6 before scoring five straight points to take an 11-8 lead with four-straight points coming on the serve of Kandyce Nielsen. Nielsen had an ace and Paslay a kill during the stretch.
The Islanders pushed their lead to four at 15-11 before UALR scored six straight points to take a 17-15 lead. The 6-0 run started a 14-2 burst by the Trojans to close out opening set. The Islanders pulled to within 18-17 before the Trojans reeled off seven straight points to end the first game at 25-17.
The second set looked like a cat-fight as the teams were knotted at seven. UALR would outscore TAMUCC 18-9 the rest of the way of the sets final 26 points to take the game 25-16. Amila Barakovic led the charge with seven of her match-best 15 kills in the set.
Although down 2-0 in sets, the Islanders would not go quietly, extending the third set beyond the standard 25 points before falling by a score of 33-31.
The teams were near mirror images in the third set, with no team leading be more than four points at any time. The Islanders trailed 10-6 early, but a Molly McCabe ace began a 5-1 run that tied the match at 11. Paslay and McBrearty sparked a second 5-1 run with a pair of kills each as TAMUCC took a 20-16 lead.
The Trojans then scored five of the next six points knotting the game at 21-21 on an attack error by Paslay.
Paslay gave the hosts a pair of set points The first came with a kill to make the score 24-23, but Melissa Soares answered for the Trojans with a kill of her own. Paslay again gave the team a lead with a cross-court shot, but followed with an error that tied the game 25.
After McBrearty gave the Islanders their third of four set points at 26-25 with a kill, they would fight off a pair of match points by the visitors. Paslay gave A&M-Corpus Christi it final set point at 30-29, but UALR tallied four of the final five points to close out the match.
The Islanders hit .350 in the final game. Paslay had nine kills in the final game, while McBrearty put down seven. McCabe had 19 of her 24 assists in the final set.
"I was happy with the way we were able to find out intensity in the third game against UALR after the emotion of the win Friday night." said head coach Kimberly Martinez, "They really did fight hard."
In the final match of the invitational, TAMUCC fell behind 1-0 trailing the whole way in a 25-11 loss to Colorado. The Buffaloes out-hit the Islanders .294 to -.057 led by Lauren Schaeffer who had five kills on seven attempts in the opening game.
However, in the second game the Islanders picked up the intensity in a nip-tuck affair. Neither team lead by more than three in the contest, and after Colorado led the entire way in the first game there were six lead changes and 12 ties in game two.
Colorado took a 12-9 lead early. After an error by the Buffaloes, the Islanders evened the match at 12 with a McBrearty kill and a service ace by McCabe.
A&M-Corpus Christi, which led early in the set 3-1, regained the advantage at 14-13 on an attack error by Schylur Edelman.
With the game tied at 19, the Buffaloes would take the lead for good with a 3-1 run to lead 23-20. A kill by McBrearty and attack error by Alex Buth, pulled TAMUCC to within a point at 23-22.
Beth Fionda helped the Islanders fight off a set point with a kill to make it 24-23, but Alex Buth closed out the match with her fourth kill of the game.
"Despite the emotional drain from the win Friday night and the emotion of the first match of the day against UALR, the girls really pushed in the second game against Colorado." said Martinez
In the final game, Colorado broke open a 4-4 contest with a 6-0 run. The Islanders would get no closer than five points the rest of final set. Amber Sutherland, Edelman and Schaefer each had nine kills. Buth, who was the tournament MVP had eight kills.
"We faced some tough teams at home with a young team." said Martinez, "We saw some good things and we saw some things we will need to work on before conference starts."
McBrearty, who was named to the all-tournament team for the Islanders, finished with a match-high 10 kills, while Lauren Paslay had eight. Four Colorado players finished with at least eight kills.
Wehring and Nielsen shared the team lead with 11 digs apiece, while CU's Callie Webster led the way with 17 in the match.
Joining McBrearty and the MVP Buth on the all-tournament team were UALR's Barakovic and Anita Bucur, Muriel Thymes of Texas Southern, and Colorado's Schafer and Sutherland.
The Islanders are back in action next weekend at the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They will be taking on North Carolina Central, Florida Atlantic, Kent State and host Air Force Academy.
The Islanders play North Carolina Central at 11 a.m. on Friday while facing off against Florida Atlantic at 3 p.m. the same afternoon. The next day has the Islanders squaring off against Kent State at 10 a.m. while facing the host institution Air Force Academy at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
The other matches on the day featured UALR and Colorado both taking on Texas Southern. Colorado started the day with a 3-0 victory (25-12, 25-8, 25-9) over the Tigers in the first match of the morning. After taking on the Islanders in the second match of the day, the Trojans of UALR squared off against the Tigers for the third match of the day.
The Trojans proved to be too much for Texas Southern as they dispatched the Tigers in straight sets for a 3-0 victory (25-11, 25-13, 25-15). UALR is now 5-1 on the season while Texas Southern fell to 0-6 on the year.
The Trojans finished 2-1 in the tournament, beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Southern while falling to Colorado. Texas Southern fell to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, UALR and Colorado to finish without a win.