Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's volleyball team will be facing a tough opponent in a key Southland Conference match against Lamar on Saturday. Match time is set for 1:00 p.m. at the Dugan Wellness Center.
The Islanders are currently 7-11 on the season with a 1-4 Southland record. The Cardinals are 8-8 on the year, but bring a 4-1 league mark into the contest. Last time out, A&M-Corpus Christi fell by a 3-1 score to UTSA on Wednesday while Lamar beat UT Arlington 3-1 last weekend.
Emma Ridley will be leading the charge for the Islanders. Her team-high 229 kills is fourth-overall in conference and her 3.69 kills per set average is tops in the league. She also leads the Southland in kills (96) and kills per set (4.57) in conference-only matches. Isabella Arcidiacono is second on the team with 146 kills. Logen Bourque has 558 assists on the season to lead the team while Micah Nolan is tops in digs with 279 on the year.
Jayme Bazile leads the Cardinals with 187 kills and a spectacular .358 hitting percentage. One of the big keys for the Islanders will be stopping Bazile from hitting such a high percentage with their blocking game, or by trying to keep the ball away from her.
"Both of their middles are really good, when they are in system I don't know if there is anybody in the conference that can consistently block them," said Graystone. "For us, we have to keep the ball away from them. That means we have to side-out, end points quickly, serve tough and just try to limit their touches."
Graystone has seen flashes of brilliance from his team this year, but has not consistently had the upper level of play he will come to expect from his team. He knows it is a learning process with so many young players and can see them getting better with every match.
"One of the things we are constantly working on with this group is keeping the same energy throughout the match," said Graystone. "UTSA is a perfect example. We played really well and then it just took so much out of us emotionally that it was hard to get it back.
"We have been in all five conference matches, but we are still working on that total next step and turning that corner.
It is just a matter of time before the Islanders put it all together on a consistent basis. Until then, Graystone knows he must be patient with his team.
"We are getting there and our level of play has been good," said Graystone. "It's just that managing the game and keeping ourselves together, especially late in each set.
"That is our youth, the more times we do it, the easier we recognize it and eventually we will stay out of those situations completely."
Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.