Volleyball gears up for battle with Southland leader Central Arkansas
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team will face a big task on Thursday when they take on the Central Arkansas Bears at the Dugan Wellness Center. UCA comes into the showdown riding a 15-match winning streak and is undefeated in Southland Conference contests.
The Islanders come into the match with an 11-13 record overall and are 4-6 in league matches. The Bears are 21-6 on the year, including a perfect 10-0 in conference play.
"They are a big challenge," said head coach Tony Graystone. "They are very aggressive and well coached and they are used to winning.
"It's a stiff test. It will be nice for us to be home after a rough week on the road. We just have to compete and give ourselves the best chance we can."
It will be a battle of the top two offensive players in the league, with the Islanders Emma Ridley leading the Southland with 3.94 in kills per set and is second overall in kills with 331. Jessica Hays of UCA is first overall in kills with 333 and is second in kills per set with a 3.70 average. Ridley leads both categories in conference-only matches with 179 kills and a 4.59 per set average. Hays ranks fourth in kills (131) and second in average (3.74 k/s) against league opponents.
"Central Arkansas is clearly the best offensive team in the conference," said Graystone. "They are a lot more than just one player; they have the two-time conference player of the year in Chloe (Smith) and a couple of really good middle blockers.
"They know where they like to go, but they don't have to always go to the same person."
Other leaders for A&M - Corpus Christi include Micah Nolan with a team-high 375 digs and Logen Bourque with 789 assists to pace the squad.
Central Arkansas is led in assists by Marissa Collins with 1,041 and in digs by Hays with 254 on the year.
Before the match starts, the A&M - Corpus Christi ROTC Color Guard will present the flags for the national anthem. The ROTC will also be giving away a gift for all fans at the door. The two teams will meet at 7:00 p.m. as the Islanders try to knock off the top team in the Southland.
Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.