CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball team suffered a gut-wrenching loss in five sets by a 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 15-9) final against UT Arlington in a crucial Southland Conference match in the Dugan Wellness Center. The Islanders must win against first-place Texas State on Saturday to advance to the Southland Conference Tournament in Conway, Ark. next week.
As a team, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi falls to 13-19 overall and are now 5-10 in league play. UTA improved to 12-17 this season and are now 8-7 in league play. Isabella Arcidiacono led the team with 19 kills on a .317 hitting percentage, while Brianna Brink was second with 17 and Shannon Hullum totaled 12 in the match. Logen Bourque led the team with 52 assists while Micah Nolan was tops with 19 digs, followed closely by Brink with 15 on the night.
In the opening set, the Islanders jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a kill by Hullum, a block by Jordan Flemmer and Hullum, with an ace by Sarah Sanchez scoring the third point before UTA would get on the board. The score would be tied at 4-4 when Texas A&M – Corpus Christi would score four-straight on kills by Brooke Alverson and Brink to grab an 8-4 lead.
Out of the timeout, Bourque put away a kill on an over to make it 12-6 in favor of the Islanders. With UTA rallying to within 14-13, the Islanders went on a run to extend the team to 19-14, forcing the Mavs to call a timeout. Alverson made 20-15 lead following the timeout with another kill through the Lady Mavs block. With the Mavs closing to within one at 22-21, the Islanders scored three-of-four points on a block assist by Hullum and Flemmer while Hullum finished it off with a kill for a 25-22 win and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Set two was close early on, with the teams playing to a 5-4 score when a kill by Isabella Arcidiacono and block assist Bourque and Flemmer made it a 7-4 advantage. Flemmer and Brink each added another kill to help their team to an 11-7 lead before Arlington rallied with four-straight points to even it at 11-11. The two teams played even all the way to 22-22, before three consecutive points by UTA finished the set at 25-22 and even the match at 1-1.
The third set started off badly for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, as they fell behind 7-2 early on. The Islanders were able to rally on a pair of kills by both Brink and Bourque, one by Hullum and Arcidiacono and a block solo by Alverson to tie it at 10-10. The two teams played close the rest of the set, with neither team leading by more than two points and playing to a tie at 21-21. The Islanders took a 23-21 lead on a service ace by Bourque and a kill by Arcidiacono before putting away the set on a Hullum kill to make it 25-23 and give her team a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set was yet another close one that featured six ties and two lead changes. Neither team led by more than three points the entire set, with the Islanders down 15-12, but rallying to force a 20-20 stalemate on a kill by Brink. With the score 21-21, UTA scored the next two points to take a 23-21 lead, on the way to a 25-22 victory to even the set at 2-2 and force a deciding fifth set.
From the start of the final set, UT Arlington was able to gain a commanding lead, scoring the first four points and taking an 8-4 lead into the changeover. The lead grew to as many as seven points at 12-5, before ending in a 15-9 final that gave the Mavs the win.
Next up will be a Saturday match at 1 p.m. against Texas State in the Dugan Wellness Center. The Bobcats will be playing for a Southland Conference Title and will be the ultimate test for the Islanders in their quest for a berth into the conference tournament. It will also be senior day for Jessica Korda, the lone senior on the roster. Korda will be honored prior to the start of the match for her efforts in helping build the Islanders program to its current standing.
Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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