Islanders Claim Five-Set Thriller Against UTPA in Midweek Tilt

Brooke Alverson records the match-clinching kill against UTPA
Brooke Alverson records the match-clinching kill against UTPA

EDINBURG, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Islanders volleyball team was in a familiar spot on Tuesday night, facing a fifth-set to claim the match. After coming up short in their previous five-set match, the team completed the task against the Texas – Pan American Broncs, winning a 3-2 (21-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10) match.

The Islanders improved to 6-5 on the year while UTPA falls to 1-11 this season. It was the third time the teams met this year, with Texas A&M – Corpus Christi coming out on top each time. Brianna Brink led the team with 15 kills while Brooke Alverson added 11 on a .417 hitting percentage, including three key points in the fifth set to secure the win for her team. Logen Bourque contributed a team-high 34 assists while Micah Nolan led the team with 25 digs on the night.

In the first set, the Islanders led 6-2 early on before a run by the Broncs knotted the score at 8-8. Back-to-back kills from Brink gave her team the lead again, but four-straight points by UTPA gave the home team a 12-10 advantage. After playing to a tie at 13-13, the Broncs scored four-straight points on the way to a lead they would not relinquish in the set, taking a 25-21 win and a 1-0 lead over Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.

The Islanders staked themselves to an early 7-2 lead in the second set following a Shannon Hullum service ace. With the score 11-5, UTPA scored five-straight points to pull within one at 11-10, but kills from Brink and Jordan Flemmer extended the lead back to 13-10. The biggest lead of the set came at 16-13 when Isabella Arcidiacono drilled home a kill to extend the lead to six points. After the Broncs played to a tie at 19-19, a kill from Brink put her team back into the lead and another kill from Arcidiacono helped the Islanders take a 25-19 final to even the match at one game apiece.

The third set was a closely contest affair, with neither team leading by more than three points the entire way. UTPA grabbed an early 3-0 lead before four-straight from the Islanders gave the visitors a one-point advantage. The set featured 12 ties with the Islanders leading as late as 22-21 on a kill from Bourque before four-straight points gave the Broncs a 25-21 victory and a 2-1 set lead.

The fourth set was another nail biter that feature 10 ties, with the latest coming at 15-15. A kill from Alverson and a service ace from Sarah Sanchez helped the Islanders take an 18-15 lead late in the set. The team extended the advantage to 23-20 on kills from Arcidiacono and Alverson before UTPA pulled to within 24-23 at set point. Arcidiacono ended the set on a kill that knotted the match at 2-2 and sent it to a decisive fifth set.

In the fifth, the Islanders fell behind 2-1 early, but three straight, including a kill from Arcidiacono, gave the visitors a 4-2 lead before the Broncs came back to knot it at 4-4. Back-to-back kills from Alverson and Bourque gave Texas A&M – Corpus Christi the final lead of the night and another pair of kills by Alverson at the end of the frame finished off the match with a 15-10 final in the set.

Next up for the Islanders will be four matches in two days when they take part in the Hampton Inn Invitational hosted by the College of Charleston. The team will face North Florida and College of Charleston on Friday, Sept. 16 before closing out play at the tourney on Saturday, Sept. 17 against UNC Wilmington and Wyoming.

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