CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball Team had to rally several times over the course of a tense 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 26-28, 15-17) Southland Conference win over the McNeese State Cowgirls on Saturday at the Dugan Wellness Center. It was the first-ever win over McNeese in program history as Brianna Brink and Logen Bourque set new career-bests to lead their team to victory.
Brink put away 24 kills on the day while Bourque added 59 assists for the Islanders. Brooke Alverson added 17 kills and Shannon Hullum collected 14 for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. Micah Nolan had 25 digs while Bourque and Hullum added 14 apiece. Jordan Flemmer came up big defensively, tallying two block solos and nine block assists at the net.
The Islanders are now 12-15 on the year, with a 4-6 mark in league matches. The Cowgirls fall to 7-17 overall, 2-8 in Southland play.
The first set was a hard fought affair that saw the Islanders take an early lead, fall behind and then rally before suffering a 25-22 loss to the Cowgirls. On the strength of five early kills by Brink, A&M – Corpus Christi raced out to a 12-4 advantage. McNeese rallied to tie the score at 14-14 following a 10-2 run. The Islanders regained the advantage and led by a 21-17 score when the Cowgirls made their comeback. The visitors scored 8-of-9 points to take a 25-22 set for an early 1-0 lead.
After falling behind 5-1 early on, Head Coach Tony Graystone called a timeout to settle his team down. Following the break, the Islanders scored 8-of-10 points, led by three kills from Alverson and one from Brink to make it a 9-7 advantage. A&M – Corpus Christi would lead the rest of the way, including by as many as five at 19-14, before taking a 25-20 final on a kill from Isabella Arcidiacono to even the match.
Set three was a battle that featured 11 ties and five lead changes as the two teams looked to gain the advantage. The Islanders led 4-1 early on due to three blocks assists, with all three including Flemmer, who teamed up with Hullum twice and Jessica Korda once. Korda also added a kill to make it a three-point lead. The Cowgirls fought back with a 7-2 run to grab an early 8-6 lead.
The two teams played to a 14-14 tie midway through the set, with the Islanders proceeding to score 4-of-5 on kills by Alverson, Korda and Bourque, along with a block assist by Alverson and Bourque to make it a 19-15 lead. McNeese rallied with six-straight points to turn a deficit into 21-19 lead. With the score tied at 23-23, back-to-back points by McNeese ended the set at 25-23 as the Islanders faced a 2-1 deficit in the match.
The fourth set would go extra points as the Islanders staved off defeat with a 28-26 victory. After falling behind early, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi rallied from being down 20-16, tying the score at 20-20 on a block solo by Flemmer and kills by Hullum and Alverson. The Islanders took their first lead of the set at 22-21 on an Alverson kill, but the two teams would battle to a 26-26 tie before a kill by Brink and a block assist by Brink and Flemmer ended the set at 28-26 to force a deciding fifth set.
The final set was the closest of all, which despite being scheduled to go to 15 featured 13 ties and five lead changes as A&M – Corpus Christi took a 17-15 final to clinch the match. The largest lead of the set came at 10-8 for the Islanders on a Korda kill before four-straight points by McNeese gave the visitors a 12-10 lead.
A kill by Alverson and service ace from Hullum even the score at 12-12 and the two teams traded points to a 15-15 stalemate before a Brink kill and Cowgirls attack error ended the match by a 17-15 final.
Next up for the Islanders will be a long road trip to Central Arkansas and Northwestern State as part of four-straight matches on the road. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will play UCA on Thursday, Oct. 27 in Conway, Ark. before head to Natchitoches, La. to take on NWST on Saturday, Oct. 29.
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