San Marcos - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team and first-year head coach Tony Graystone got quite a test in the opening match of the Southland Conference season as they went up against the defending champion Texas State Bobcats.
The early test for the Islanders was rough as they fell in a 3-1 (25-20, 6-25, 20-25, 18-25) match but they competed well against the best that the league has to offer.
In the first set, the Islanders gained the upper hand, taking a 1-0 match lead by a 25-20 final. Playing a tight match early on, the Islanders stayed close to the Bobcats all the way to a tie at 16-16. At that point, TAMUCC took control of the set and outscored Texas State 9-4 to take the set.
Emma Ridley and Ariel Carlson led the Islanders in the set with three kills apiece while Courtney Wypisznyski had eight assists to pace the team.
The second set was not as kind to TAMUCC as the defending-champion Bobcats showed the form of last season in taking a 20-6 set to tie the match at 1-1.
The final two sets were much closer but the Islanders were unable to pull them out as they fell by finals of 25-20 in set three and 25-18 in set four.
Set three started slowly for the Islanders, dropping to a 9-3 deficit early on before rallying to tie it at 11-11. The score would remain tight all the way to 16-16 before the Bobcats once again regained control of the set. They would go on their own 9-4 run to finish out the set at 25-20, mirroring the first set that went in favor of the Islanders.
Set four saw six ties and four lead changes take place before Texas State would be able to take the set and match win with a 25-18 victory for an overall 3-1 match. The two teams matched each other nearly point-for-point from the start all the way to the 8-8 mark. The Bobcats then scored 8-of-9 points to take a 16-9 lead. TAMUCC fought its way back to within 18-15 but could not get any closer. Texas State outscored the Islanders 7-3 over the final 10 points to close out the conference opener.
Ridley led all Islanders with 13 kills and tied for the match-high with the Bobcats' Jessica Weynand. Jessica Korda contributed eight kills while Carlson added five, Shannon Hullum had three and Meagan Luber and Wypisznyski had two each. Wypisznyski also had 27 assist to lead the team and Kandyce Nielson added double-digit digs with 11.
TAMUCC continues the road trip to open the Southland season on Saturday as they travel to Arlington to take on the Mavericks of UT Arlington. Match time is set for a 4 PM start.