The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team got back into the win column Saturday afternoon at Moody Fieldhouse. The Islanders battled UT Arlington in a match that was closely contested early on before the Islanders pulled away, winning the match 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-17).
Senior Kasey McBrearty led the team with a season-high of 16 kills in the match while Kandyce Nielson recorded a season-high 24 digs in the match. The 24 digs were the best by Islander this season.
With the win A&M-Corpus Christi improved to 3-9 on the season and evened their Southland Conference record at 1-1. The Mavericks fell to 4-12, 0-2 in SLC play. The victory was the first by the Islanders over UT Arlington in the history of the program. They were previously 0-7 against the Mavericks dating back to the year 2000.
Early on, the opening set was tight as neither team was able to gain significant advantage as the teams matched each other point for point. The Islanders were down early but were able to stay close due to several Beth Fionda kills. Fionda four kills in the set.
UT Arlington led 11-8, which was its largest of the set, but McBrearty got the Islanders to within 11-9 with a hard shot followed a Holly Watson kill to make it 11-10.
After a kill for the Mavericks put the score at 12-10, McBrearty recorded another kill to get within 12-11 and a block assist by Fionda and Watson tied the set at 12-12. Another McBrearty kill gave the Islanders their first lead of the set at 13-12.
The teams split the next 16 points, recording eight each to put the score at 21-20 in favor of TAMUCC. Two straight service aces by the Mavericks gave them a 22-21 lead, before a McBrearty kill tied the match all up at 22-22.
Another block assist by Watson and Fionda gave the Islanders the lead at 23-22. A kill by the Mavericks to make it 23-23 was answered by a kill from Jessica Korda to keep the Islanders out front at 24-23.
UT Arlington responded to make it 24-24 before a kill from Lauren Paslay pushed the lead back to one at 25-24 After the Mavericks answered back to make it 25-25, the Islanders caught a break when UT Arlington recorded a service error to push the TAMUCC lead back to one at 26-25.
A final attack error on the Mavericks sealed the set for the Islanders and finished the scoring at 27-25. The Islanders played fairly clean ball, committing only five attack errors in 49 attempts while hitting .286 as a team. McBrearty hit a team high .571 in the first set.
"We took care of the little things." said Islander head coach Kimberly Martinez. "That made it easier to concentrate on the bigger things in our offense and defense."
The second set would come a bit easier for the Islanders.
After a contentious early part of the match that saw the teams deadlocked at 10-10, the Islanders slowly started pulling away from the Mavericks.
Three straight kills by McBrearty, Watson and Fionda pushed the Islanders ahead 13-10. The Mavericks moved the score to 13-1l but were answered back by McBrearty to make it 14-11.
After an attack error on Fionda, the Islanders had a kill by Korda and three straight block assists. After Korda assisted Paslay, Paslay and Fionda teamed up for back-to-back block assists to make it 18-13.
The Islanders would outscore the Maverick 7-3 over the final 10 points to win the set by a score of 25-17 with the final point coming on a Paslay kill.
"I feel that every player on that court had a great game." said coach Martinez "We eliminated most of our unforced errors and played very well tonight."
In the third set of the match, the Islanders jumped on the Mavericks early and didn't let up.
After falling behind 3-1, the Islanders scored four straight points to take a 5-3 lead. They fell behind UT Arlington once again by a score of 10-8 and would once again bounce back.
The Islanders scored 11 of the next 12 points to take a commanding 19-11 lead over the Mavericks. The flurry was highlighted by kills by Korda and Watson and two kills by McBrearty. TAMUCC received a block assist by Watson and McBrearty and aces by McBrearty and Molly McCabe.
The Islanders put the match away at 25-17 on a Korda kill after a shot burst of points by the Mavericks brought the score to 24-17.
McBrearty led the Islanders in kills with 16 while Paslay recorded 14 and Fionda recorded 11. McCabe contributed 41 assists while Nielson had 24 digs. The Islanders finished with a season-high 16 block assists for eight total blocks. Fionda and Watson shared the lead with five block assists.
The girls realized that all the hard work they put in paid off today." said coach Martinez "We have to make sure they continue to build off of that."
The Islanders will look to continue building next Friday night, October 3 as the host the UTSA Roadrunners at Moody Fieldhouse in an SLC contest.