Volleyball falls to Texas State in thrilling opener to Southland play

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team lost a heart-breaking 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 30-28) match to defending Southland tournament champion Texas State to open the 2010 league schedule on Friday night. The two teams battled in an intense match the featured 23 ties and nine lead changes throughout the night.

I was happy with the effort, I thought we battled really hard tonight," said head coach Tony Graystone. "We saw a really nice version of our team, obviously Texas State is a talented group and they know how to win those close games on the road.

"That's just the difference right now, we have to figure out how to get over the hump late in games and close it out. Once we do that we will be on our way."

The Islanders are now 6-8 on the season and fall to 0-1 in Southland matches. The Bobcats improved to 8-7 this year, 1-0 in league play.

Emma Ridley led the way for the Islanders with 12 kills, tying Bobcat players Amari Deardorff and AJ Watlington for the match-high in kills. Ridley also added 10 digs on the night for her fifth double-double of the season.

The Islanders trailed by as many as five points in the first set before coming back to tie it at 15-15. The two teams traded points with neither team leading by more than two points the rest of the period. Amanda Lowe tied it at 24-24 with her third kill of the set and the Islanders took their first lead at 25-24 on an Isabella Arcidiacono kill. They were unable to pick up the winner however, with the Bobcats scoring three-straight points on a kill and two attack errors to win the set 27-25. AJ Watlington led all players with five kills in the opening set while Lowe and Ridley led the Islanders with three each.

In set two, the Islanders struggled to keep up the momentum, falling behind by as many as six points at 12-6 and never getting closer than a three point deficit at 18-15. From that point on, Texas State scored seven-of-nine points to take a 25-17 set victory.

In the third, the Islanders came out rejuvenated, taking an early lead before falling behind by three at 12-9. From then on, the team fought its way back into the set, scoring five-of-seven points to tie the set at 14-14 on a kill from Jessica Korda. A kill by Ridley gave the Islanders their first lead since 2-0 and an attack error by the Bobcats made it 16-14 in favor of the home team. They clung to the lead point-by-point until the Bobcats knotted it up at 20-20 on a kill by Watlington and an Islanders attack error.

From then on, the teams battled for every point as neither team led by more than one and the lead changed hands five times in the final points, with the last coming lead for the Islanders coming at 28-27 on a kill by Lowe. The Bobcats scored three-straight points on two Islanders errors and a kill by Mo Middleton to end the match with a 30-28 set win.

In addition to Ridley's 12 kills, Arcidiacono was second on the team with eight kills while Lowe added six on the night on a team-best .364 hitting percentage. Logen Bourque added another 30 assists performance to lead the team while Micah Nolan was tops in digs with 12 on the night. Brooke Alverson also led the team in blocking with the only block solo of the night for the Islanders to go along with a team-high four block assists.

The Islanders must have a short memory with UT Arlington coming to Dugan at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Mavericks come into the match with a record of 6-9 on the season and a 0-1 Southland record.

"We have to shake it off," said Graystone. "We were looking to establish our style of play tonight and see how hard we were going to fight.

"If we can do that tomorrow, it will be another competitive match."

Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.