CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi volleyball team reversed its fortunes on Saturday with a 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-11) win over the Sam Houston State Bearkats for the first Southland Conference win of the season. The Islanders rallied from down 2-1, winning the fourth set to force a deciding fifth set behind career days from Isabella Arcidiacono and Brianna Brink.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi moves to 9-10 on the season and is now 1-3 in Southland matches. The Bearkats are now 9-9 overall with a 3-2 mark in league contests. It was the second time these two teams have met this year, with the Bearkats taking a 3-1 decision in the season-opening Sam Houston State Invitational.
Arcidiacono led all players with a new career-high 19 kills in the match. Brink was right there as well, also setting a new personal best with 18 kills against SHSU. Logen Bourque reached the 50-assist plateau for the second time in as many matches, notching 50 helpers after setting a career-high with 57 on Thursday. Micah Nolan was one of four players with double-digit digs, leading the way with 27 in the contest. Shelby Coppedge added 16, Bourque had 13 and Shannon Hullum rounded out the group with 12.
In the first set, Sam Houston grabbed an early 8-4 lead before a kill by Jordan Flemmer, along with blocks from Arcidiacono, Hullum and Flemmer tied the score at 8-8. The Bearkats built another lead at 14-9 before an Arcidiacono kill knotted the score at 22-22, forcing Sam Houston to call a timeout.
After the timeout, Arcidiacono put another one away, followed by a Sarah Sanchez ace as the Bearkats called another timeout at set point. An attack error by SHSU out of the stoppage made it a 25-22 final and a 1-0 score in the match.
In set two, Sam Houston jumped out to an early 8-1 lead to force an Islanders timeout. Out of the break, Brooke Alverson recorded a solo block, but the Bearkats kept the pressure on and extended the lead to 13-4. Back-to-back kills from Arcidiacono and a block assist from her and Flemmer made it 13-7 as Sam Houston called a timeout.
Arcidiacono picked up another kill out of the break before three-straight points by SHSU made it 16-8 forced another Texas A&M – Corpus Christi timeout. The Bearkats would lead by as many as eight points at 20-12 before the Islanders made a 8-to-1 run to pull within 21-20. Sam Houston scored four of the final five points in the set to take a 25-21 set and even the match at 1-1.
The third set was a battle that featured six ties and three lead changes. The set was tied as late as 17-17 before Sam Houston used an 8-3 run to end the period at 25-20 for a 2-1 lead.
Set four saw the Islanders take a 5-0 lead on kills from Hullum and Brink, a service ace by Shelby Coppedge and a block assist from Brink and Flemmer as the Bearkats called a timeout to regroup. Out of the break, SHSU scored their first point of the set, before a kill from Brianna Brink and Hullum extended the lead to 7-1. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi led by as many as eight points at 14-6 before a rally by Sam Houston to 15-11 forced Head Coach Tony Graystone to call a timeout.
Out of the break, the Bearkats scored again to make it 15-12, with the Islanders breaking the run on the next point with a kill from Brink that was followed by a Bearkats attack error to make it 17-12. Sam Houston rallied all the way back to tie the score at 21-21, but the Islanders would not be denied as the scored four-straight points on a kill from Arcidiacono and a pair from Brink that ended the set at 25-21 to force a fifth and final set.
In the deciding period, the Islanders and Bearkats were locked in a close set that saw seven ties and three lead changes despite the abbreviated scoring. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi went down by a 6-4 score before a service ace by Alverson helped her team to a 7-6 lead after three-straight points. The lead was extended to 9-7 on a block by Alverson and Arcidiacono and a SHSU attack error before the Bearkats came back to tie it at 9-9.
Arcidiacono added another kill to give her team the lead as they scored three consecutive points to take a 12-9 advantage. After a Sam Houston timeout, the Bearkats pulled to within 13-11, but a kill from Brink helped the Islanders to a 15-11 set win and a 3-2 match victory.
Next up for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will be a Tuesday night match against first-place UTSA at the Dugan Wellness Center. Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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