ISLANDERS LOSE FIVE SET THRILLER TO SAM HOUSTON STATE
Huntsville - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team lost a five-set heartbreaker to the Sam Houston State Bearkats for the second time this season in a 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 19-25, 25-13, 15-12) Southland Conference match on the road.
The Islanders are now 7-19 on the season and 0-11 in Southland Conference matches. The Bearkats have now won a season-high 11 consecutive matches and stand at 19-10 overall and 11-1 in Southland play.
Emma Ridley set at new Islander single-season record for kills after adding 21 to her season total. She is now at 387 kills on the season, shattering the old mark of 373, set during the 2002 season by Lauren Smith.
"Emma has been our go-to player this season and I am not surprised that she was able to do something like this," said head coach Tony Graystone. "I am happy for her and it is a very impressive accomplishment."
Ridley also added 10 digs to record her fifth double-double on the season. Jessica Korda and Courtney Wypiszynski also recorded double-doubles as Korda had 12 kills and 12 digs while Wypiszynski had 37 assists and a career-high 14 digs. It was Korda's first career double-double and matched her career high in digs. Victoria Sookiasian also set a new personal best with 29 digs. Her previous high was 15 digs, set two matches ago against Northwestern State.
"We were doing it on both sides of the ball today, our block was better and we dug the ball better," said Graystone. "Victoria and Jessica Jennett played well today, it was a good effort and just unfortunate we couldn't finish it off."
The Islanders struggled in the first set, dropping a 25-11 final before coming on strong in the next two to take a 2-1 advantage. In set two, the two teams battled back-and-forth, exchanging the lead four times while tying the score 10 times. Neither team could get more than a two-point advantage the entire set with the final tie coming at 19-19 after back-to-back kills by Ridley with the team trailing 19-17. Ridley and Korda led the way with five kills apiece as TAMUCC battled early and were able to outscore the Bearkats 8-4 over the final 12 points to take a 25-23 win.
In the third set, the Islanders controlled the tempo while building their lead as the set went along with the only tie coming at 1-1. TAMUCC would grow the lead to as many as 10 points at 21-11 before finishing off the set with a 25-19 victory.
After a fourth set that saw the Islanders fall by a 25-13 final to tie the match at 2-2, the teams faced off in a fifth and final set as they had earlier in the year. The two teams battled to the end as there were seven ties including the final one at 12-12. The Islanders were never able to gain a lead however, as the Bearkats scored the final three points to win by a 15-12 margin and send the Islanders to a 3-2 defeat.
"We fought pretty hard today but we just came up a little bit short," said Graystone. "They showed a lot of fight today and they played well."
The team returns to action on Tuesday, October 3 against UTSA in San Antonio. The match is set for a 6:30 PM start.