Islanders dominate Nicholls in first of back-to-back matches on Louisiana road trip

THIBODAUX, La. - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team picked up its second-straight Southland Conference win on Friday night, beating the Nicholls Colonels by a 3-1 (25-11, 25-23, 22-25, 25-14) score to open the road trip with a win. The Islanders will face Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, La. tomorrow afternoon.

A&M - Corpus Christi is now 9-11 on the year, and improved to 3-4 in Southland matches. It ties the teams win total from last year, and surpasses the win total in league matches in either of the last two seasons. The Colonels are now 11-9 on the season and 3-4 in conference play.

Emma Ridley led all attackers with 25 kills in the match, a new Islanders record for kills in a four-set match. Ridley also totaled 20 digs for her second 20-20 match of the season. Jessica Korda added 15 kills while Shannon Hullum also reached double-digits with 10 on the night. Logen Bourque set a new personal best as she distributed 49 assists while Micah Nolan tied her career-high with 27 digs.

In the opening set, the Islanders set the tone by scoring the first seven points on three kills from Ridley and one apiece from Brooke Alverson and Bourque. They continued to pour it on in the first set, stretching the lead to 10 at 17-7 and to 14, the largest of the night, at 24-10 before finishing it off on a Korda kill to take a 25-11 final.

"This was a really good match for us," said head coach Tony Graystone. "We started out 7-1 and got into a nice rhythm in the first set.

"I was really happy with how clean we were, that we had very few hitting errors and that our outside hitters were really good."

Set two was much closer as Nicholls took an early 3-1 advantage. The Islanders tied it at 3-3 before three-straight points from the Colonels put it at a 6-3 score. Just as before, A&M - Corpus Christi answered back with a Korda kill and a block assist from Korda and Jordan Flemmer to knot it at 6-6. They took their first lead of the set at 7-6 and led by three points before falling back into a tie once again at 11-11. Nicholls held a 19-16 advantage when a block assist from Flemmer and Hullum, a kill from Korda and another block assist, this time by Flemmer and Ridley, to square the set at 20-20. The Colonels retook the lead but the Islanders scored three-of-four points on an Alverson kill and a pair of kills by Ridley for the final two points of the set.

After the intermission, the two teams locked into another tough set that included 12 tie scores and five lead changes. It was tied as late as 19-19 before Nicholls outscored A&M - Corpus Christi by a 6-3 margin to take a 25-22 win for their first set of the night.

Refocused, the Islanders came back out firing in the fourth and final set. They took an early 4-1 lead and extended it to as many as 10 at a 21-11 score. With the set at 22-14 in favor of the Islanders, Ridley finished it off with three-straight kills for the match win.

"That to me was a big sign that our team showed maturity," said Graystone. "To recognize what was going on and to be able to reassert ourselves in the fourth set was big.

"We had one hitting error and sided out almost every time, it made us really confident."

Flemmer had another good night blocking as she registered five block assists while Ridley was second on the team with four in the match.

Next up for the Islanders are the Southeastern La. Lions on Saturday afternoon. Match time is set for 2:00 p.m. and a win by A&M - Corpus Christi would get them to 4-4 and back to .500 in league play.

"It's another big conference road match," said Graystone. "We have to handle the drive over there, do our prep work and control those same things tomorrow.

"It's been a goal of ours to climb back to .500 and get on even footing. If we can do that, we can take control of our own fate with the remaining conference schedule."