Islanders Split Matches on Final Day of Hampton Inn Invitational
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi volleyball team split a pair of matches on Friday at the Hampton Inn Invitational, winning 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-21) over the North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks before falling 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 28-26) against the Wyoming Cowgirls in the final match of the tournament. Shannon Hullum earned all-tournament honors for her performances throughout the weekend.
The Islanders move to 8-7 on the year while Wyoming improves to 9-4 with a match against host College of Charleston left to play in the tourney. The team starts Southland Conference play next week against UT Arlington.
In the first match of the day, Brianna Brink had another double-double, her sixth of the year, with a match-high 10 kills and 10 digs. Logen Bourque had a match-high 31 assists and Micah Nolan added a match-high in digs with 14. Hullum added nine kills, two block solos and three block assists while Tina Chavis had five kills and four total blocks for the Islanders.
In the first set, things did not look like they were going to go Texas A&M – Corpus Christi's way early on. Down 10-4, head coach Tony Graystone called a timeout to settle down his team. It worked like a charm as they responded with an 11-3 run to turn the deficit into a 15-13 lead. They were powered by two kills from Brink and one apiece from Bourque, Hullum and Ashley Phelps. From that point on, the teams played a neck-and-neck set that featured 10 ties and four lead changes. After an Islanders attack error tied it at 23-23, a kill from Bourque and a Seahawks attack error ended the set at 25-23 in favor of Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
Set two was more of the same early on, with the Islanders trailing early before coming back to take control. There were eight ties, but only one lead change this time. With the score 10-9 for UNCW, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi scored five-straight points to take a 14-10 lead and never look back on their way to a 14-5 run to end the set. Six different Islanders recorded kills as Bourque and Phelps each had two while Brooke Alverson, Chavis, Hullum and Brink each had one during the run. With the score 22-15, Chavis and Brink added kills to clinch a 2-0 lead. It total, Alverson, Brink, Bourque and Phelps added three kills in each in the set.
The third set was a departure from the first two, with the Islanders taking the early lead this time before losing it to the Seahawks. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi trailed by as much as three at 13-10 before knotting the score and taking the lead on a kill from Hullum and a Shelby Coppedge service ace to make it 21-20. UNCW tied it at 21-21, but four-straight points, including the clinching block by Brink, gave the Islanders the 3-0 win.
In the final match of the tourney, the Islanders and Cowgirls squared off in a closely contested affair that saw two-of-three sets go extra points to determine a winner.
The first set saw the Islanders fall behind 5-1 early, but come back to even it at 8-8. The Cowgirls then took control, scoring nine-straight points to gain a commanding 17-8 lead on the way to a 25-16 set win.
In the second, the two teams were tied nine times and exchanged the lead five different occasions. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi led until the Cowgirls tied it at 21-21 late in the set. Three more points in-a-row made it 24-21 and on the brink of making it 2-0. The Islanders fought back to tie it at 24-, but they could not complete the comeback, falling 26-24 in the frame.
The final set was another close one throughout, with 14 ties and seven lead changes. This time it was Wyoming who led midway through until four consecutive points made it 16-14 in favor of the Islanders. The two teams quickly knotted the score and traded points until it was 26-26 in extra points. Two points by the Cowgirls ended the match for a 3-0 win.
Next up for the Islanders will be a Southland Conference match at UT Arlington. The teams will play on Thursday, Sept. 22 in Arlington.
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