The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team dropped a Southland Conference home match against McNeese State by a 3-1 score (25-23, 8-25, 25-17, 25-18) at Moody Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
The Islanders fall to 3-14 on the year with a 1-5 record in SLC matches. The Cowgirls of McNeese State improved to 6-12 on the year, 3-4 in the SLC.
The Islanders started out quickly, taking a 3-0 lead in the first set after kills by Kasey McBrearty and Holly Watson and then a service ace by McBrearty. The Cowgirls cut it to 3-2 before committing an attack error to put the Islanders up by two once again at 4-2.
After falling behind 7-4, the Islanders used back-to-back kills by Jessica Korda and a service ace by Chelsea Myers to tie the score at 7-7.
The two teams battled back-and-forth, trading points from 7-7 all the way to 13-13. The Islanders fell behind 16-14 before a Lauren Paslay kill brought the score back within one at 16-15. The Cowgirls stretched their lead to 20-15 before another Paslay kill broke the momentum and put the score at 20-16.
After McNeese scored to make it 21-16, the Islanders got a kill by McBrearty, followed by a kill and then service ace by Molly McCabe to pull within 21-19. The Islanders were unable to get any closer however, as the two teams split the next eight points, giving McNeese a 25-23 set win.
"We made it hard on ourselves today." said Islander head coach Kimberly Martinez. "We made too many unforced errors while McNeese took advantage of those mistakes."
In the second set, the Islanders came out dominating. Beth Fionda opened the scoring with a kill to put TAMUCC up 1-0. A McNeese attack error put the score at 2-0 before the Cowgirls got on the board at 2-1. A Diandra Torres kill, service ace by McBrearty, kill by Fionda helped the Islanders jump out to an 8-1 lead, forcing McNeese to take a timeout.
After McNeese scored to make it 8-2, back-to-back errors on McNeese gave the Islanders a commanding 10-2 lead it would never relinquish. Lauren Paslay added a kill to put the score at 11-2 in favor of the Islanders. At 11-3, a pair of Korda kills book ended a McNeese error to stretch the advantage to 14-3.
After a McNeese point, Lauren Paslay went on a tear, striking the next three Islanders kills to put the lead at 19-4.
Two McBrearty kills and a kill from Fionda would eventually close out the set, giving the Islanders a commanding 25-8 set win.
"I thought we ran our system well in the second set." said Martinez. "We passed and terminated kills off of our passing."
Paslay would add four kills in the set, part of her team-high 14 kills. She had a team-high .462 hitting percentage.
I thought Lauren Paslay had a great offensive game for us." said Martinez. "She tried to carry the team offensively when we were struggling."
After the domination second set, the Islanders were unable to add to their momentum and would eventually lose the third set 25-17.
The Islanders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on an error and a service ace by McCabe but were unable to hold the lead, as the two teams battled to a 9-9 tie. A block assist by McCabe and Torres would once again give the Islanders the lead at 10-9.
After a McNeese point tied the set, an attack error by McBrearty would give the Cowgirls the lead at 11-10, marking the last time the Islanders would be tied in the set.
With McNeese holding a 13-11 lead, the Islanders committed three-straight unforced errors to stretch the deficit to 16-11.
McNeese outscored the Islanders 9-6 over the final 15 points to take the set at 25-17.
The final set saw the Islanders fall behind 5-0 to McNeese and was never able to recover.
The Islanders were nearly able to get the game back to level, pulling to within 13-12 on a Torres kill. McNeese outscored the Islanders by a 12-6 margin from that point on to end the set with a score of 25-18 and match score of 3-1.
The Islanders were led offensively by Paslay, who accounted for 14 kills with a .462 hitting percentage. McBrearty also added double-digit kills with 10. McCabe contributed 35 assists while Kandyce Nielson led the Islanders defensively with 17 digs.
Torres had a career-high seven kills in the match.
"I thought Diandra did a great job as well today." said Martinez. "For someone so new to the game to have a .357 hitting percentage is very impressive."
McNeese was led by Chanel Tyler, who had a match-high 15 kills. Sarah Cartie and Amanda Allen led the Cowgirls with 12 digs each.
The Islanders are back in action with two road matches in the SLC this coming week. TAMUCC travels to Conway, Arkansas to take on SLC opponent Central Arkansas and to Natchitoches, Louisiana to take on Northwestern State.
"We have a tough road trip coming up." said Martinez. "We have two days to get as much work in as we can and get prepared."