Islanders Come Up Short in Hard-Fought Match at Sam Houston
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball team fell victim to a slow start against Sam Houston State on Thursday night, losing 3-1 (25-18, 25-12, 30-32, 29-27) to the Bearkats in Southland Conference action. The loss snapped the Islanders seven-match winning streak and moves SHSU into second place while the team falls to third in the league standings.
The Islanders (16-7, 8-3) were unable to avenge their loss earlier in the season against Sam Houston (14-9, 9-2) in Corpus Christi. The two teams were locked into a second-place tie heading into the match behind league-leading Central Arkansas.
Ivy Baresh led the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi attack with 15 kills, Brianna Brink had 12 and Brooke Alverson rounded out three Islanders in double digits with 11 kills. Logen Bourque had 46 assists on the night, while Baresh (15) and Bourque (13) each had double-doubles due to their dig total. Micah Nolan had a match-high 34 digs to pace the visiting team.
After a slow start in the first two sets where Texas A&M – Corpus Christi reached a tie score just five times total, the final two sets featured 35 ties and 10 lead changes as the Islanders battled until the bitter end.
In the third, the Islanders played catch up until tying the score at 9-9 on a Brink kill and taking a 10-9 lead on an Alverson attack. The lead was tied again at 12-12 when back-to-back points from Bourque followed an Alverson kill to make it a three-point advantage at 15-12. It expanded to as many as six at 20-14 following a Brink kill, but the Bearkats would claw back into it, sending it into extra points before Texas A&M – Corpus Christi would secure the set victory. Tied at 30-30, Baresh picked up back-to-back kills to finally end the marathon set at 32-30 and cut into the Bearkats lead at 2-1.
The final set was another tough one as both teams continued to battle, trading points back and forth to the tune of 20 ties and seven lead changes before Sam Houston closed out the match. With the score tied 9-9, the Islanders scored to take a one-point lead, and the two teams fell into a cycle of trading point for point until 16-16 when the Bearkats earned the slim lead. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi led by as many as three at 23-20, but they were unable to close it out and force a deciding fifth set. The Islanders led 27-26 before the Bearkats scored the final three points for a 29-27 win and a 3-1 match final.
The Islanders are off on Saturday because of Southland Conference scheduling, but they will be back in action next Thursday, Oct. 25 in Conway, Ark. to take on first-place Central Arkansas, and in Tulsa, Okla. on Saturday, Oct. 27 against Oral Roberts in the longest road trip this season in terms of distance.
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