CONWAY, Ark. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball Team came within one point of defeating the defending Southland Conference Champion Central Arkansas Sugar Bears on Thursday night before falling 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-18) in a five-set heartbreaker.
The Islanders are now 12-16 overall and 4-7 in Southland Conference matches. The Sugar Bears stand at 14-11 on the year and are 8-3 in league play. Shannon Hullum led her team with 14 kills in the match while Brooke Alverson was close behind with 13 on the night. Logen Bourque had a team-high 41 assists while Micah Nolan led Texas A&M – Corpus Christi with 21 digs in the match.
In the first set, the Islanders fell behind early by a 6-3 score, but scored four-of-five on a block assist from Alverson and Isabella Arcidiacono, a kill apiece from Brianna Brink and Jordan Flemmer and then a block assist by Flemmer and Bourque to tie it at 7-7. The first lead for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi came at 11-10 when Flemmer and Arcidiacono combined for a block assist to give their team the lead.
The two teams played to an 18-18 tie when a block assist from Brink and Flemmer, along with a kill by Flemmer, helped the Islanders score three-straight points to take a 21-18 advantage. UCA scored three of their own to even it at 21-21, but four-of-five points on a pair of kills by Hullum sandwiched around a Nolan service ace gave their team a 25-22 set and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Set two saw the Islanders trail early, but come back to take a 15-13 lead midway through the period. The two teams played to a draw at 22-22 before UCA scored three of the final four points to even the match at 1-1 after the second set.
In the third set, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi was tied with the Sugar Bears at 8-8 before kills by Alverson and Brink gave them a 10-8 lead. The Islanders led by as many as four at 21-16 following a kill by Flemmer, but UCA scored six-of-seven to tie it at 22-22 late in the set. A kill by Hullum gave Texas A&M – Corpus Christi a brief lead, but the Sugar Bears scored the final three points of the set to give UCA a 25-23 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Islanders fell behind early in set four, trailing 16-13 before kills by Alverson and Hullum helped tie it at 16-16 at the halfway point. Three straight from the Sugar Bears gave UCA a 19-16, before Texas A&M – Corpus Christi once again answered with three of their own on kills from Jessica Korda, Hullum and Alverson. The teams traded points to a 23-23 tie before back-to-back kills from Korda gave the Islanders the set at 25-23 to send it to a deciding fifth frame.
In the final set, the teams were tied at 5-5 when Texas A&M – Corpus Christi scored four-of-five points on a block assist by Alverson and Bourque and a Bourque kill put the team up 8-6 at the changeover. Following the switch, UCA scored four-straight points to take a 10-8 lead, but a block assist by Flemmer and Bourque, along with a Sugar Bears attack error even the score at 10-10.
The two teams traded points to 12-12, with UCA scoring and the Islanders coming back to tie it each time. After knotting the score the second time, a UCA attack error made it a 13-12 lead by Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and forced the Sugar Bears to call a timeout. Out of the break, another attack error saw UCA call their second timeout of the set with the Islanders leading 14-12. Central Arkansas scored twice out of the second timeout to make it a 14-14 score. Korda put away a kill to make it 15-14, but UCA evened the score once again at 15-15. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi took a 16-15, lead, but three-straight points by the Sugar Bears gave them an 18-16 win to take a 3-2 final in the match.
Next up for the Islanders will be a match against Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La. on Saturday afternoon. The tilt is schedule for a 2 p.m. start at Prather Coliseum on the Lady Demons campus.
Live stats and video will be available through Northwestern State and can be accessed by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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