HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The 2011 Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball team did in its first match of 2011 what no other team in school history could do, defeat a BCS conference opponent. The Islanders (1-0) took a 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-21) sweep over Rutgers (0-1) in the Bearkat Volleyball Invitational at Sam Houston State for the historic victory.
"More than anything, this is a great way to start the season and gain confidence," said head coach Tony Graystone. "It's nice to see the group play well under pressure and handle it well at the end of the set. I'm very happy with our overall effort."
Sophomore Brooke Alverson led the team with a match-high nine kills while senior Jessica Korda and junior Shannon Hullum tied for second with six kills apiece. Sophomore Logen Bourque led the team with 28 assists while fellow sophomore Micah Nolan was tops on the team with 15 digs.
In the opening set, the Islanders quickly jumped out to an 11-2 lead on kills by Korda, Tina Chavis, Bourque and Hullum along with a service ace by Sarah Sanchez. Rutgers rallied to with eight at 22-14, but Texas A&M – Corpus Christi got another kill from Hullum on the way to a 25-16 set win.
The second set was much closer, with neither team taking more than a five-point advantage. There were eight ties, with the last coming at 16-16, before a Korda kill gave the Islanders the lead for good. The Scarlet Knights pulled within one point six different times afterward, including 24-23, before Chavis ended the set with another kill to give her team a 2-0 advantage.
In the final set, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi took as large as a 17-11 lead before Rutgers rallied to within two at 21-19, but kills by Alverson and Korda ended the threat and gave the Islanders the all-important first win of the season.
With the opening-match jitters out of the way, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi must prepare for another challenge tomorrow, with matches against two familiar opponents on the schedule. The Islanders will play Texas – Pan American at 9 a.m. before finishing off tournament play at 2 p.m. against the host Sam Houston State Bearkats.
"We have got to do a little scouting this afternoon and develop a game plan for tomorrow morning," said Graystone. "We are going to relax, enjoy the win and then get focused on what comes next."
Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoBearkats.com. For the latest information, follow Islanders Volleyball on Twitter (@IslandersVB) and facebook (Islanders Volleyball).