HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi volleyball team picked up a closely-contested victory on Saturday morning by a 3-1 (34-36, 25-16, 25-17, 25-22) over Texas – Pan American in the second day of the Bearkat Volleyball Invitational. The team is set to face host-team Sam Houston State at 2 p.m. to close out tournament play. The 109 points scored by the Islanders in the match is the third-highest total in NCAA history for a four-set match with the 25-point scoring format.
The team improved to 2-0 on the year while UTPA fell to 1-2 in the tourney. Isabella Arcidiacono made her season debut and did not disappoint, picking up a match-high 14 kills while adding five block assists to lead the way. Brooke Alverson and newcomer Ashley Phelps tied for second on the team with nine kills apiece as the team rallied from a first-set defeat to claim the victory. The team also set a new record with 31 block assists in the four-set match. The previous record was 24, also against UTPA, during the 2003 season.
In the opening set, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi fell behind by as many as six points several times before rallying back to tie the score at 24-24. From then on, the teams continually traded points, evidenced by the 18 ties and 11 lead changes in the first set alone. The Islanders led 33-32, but were unable to close out the match as they fell by a 36-34 final.
Despite the setback, the Islanders were determined and came out firing in the second stanza, jumping out to an 8-2 lead behind three Arcidiacono kills and one from Phelps. UTPA closed to within one at 11-10, but Texas A&M – Corpus Christi again distanced themselves with a 13-1 run that included a pair of kills from both Alverson and Jessica Korda. With the score 24-11, the Broncs tried to mount a comeback before the Islanders finished the set at 25-16 for a 1-1 match score.
Set three saw Texas A&M – Corpus Christi fall behind early before taking the lead for good at 12-11. The team went on a 10-1 run powered by two kills from Arcidiacono along with one each from Alverson and Logen Bourque that put the score at 21-12 in favor of the Islanders. They would go on to complete the set with a 25-17 final to move to a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The final set was similar to the first one, with the two teams staying within five points of one another throughout. The biggest lead came for the Islanders at 15-10, but UTPA quickly closed to within 17-15 to stay in contention. A Phelps kill helped extend the lead to 22-17, but the Broncs one again rallied, this time to within one at 22-21 following an attack error. Korda broke the momentum of UTPA with a kill while Alverson moved it to match point with one of her own before a UTPA error clinched the match at 25-22 to give the Islanders a 3-1 victory.
Bourque led the team with 35 assists in the match while Micah Nolan had a team-high 23 digs. Tina Chavis led the team with eight block assists while Alverson contributed seven of her own. Bourque also added five while Korda had three, Brianna Brink had two and Phelps picked up one.
Live stats and video of the final match against Sam Houston State will be available by visiting www.GoBearkats.com. For the latest information, follow Islanders Volleyball on Twitter (@IslandersVB) and facebook (Islanders Volleyball).