CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team's season came to a close today with a 3-1 loss (25-13, 25-27, 25-22, 25-11) to No. 1 seed Central Arkansas in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament at the Dugan Wellness Center. The Islanders finish with a 20-12 record, including a school-best 13-5 record in conference play. The team also made history by advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the first time.
"UCA is a very tough opponent, and I'm so proud of my girls for giving it all they got," head coach Tony Graystone said. "I'm going to miss Sarah Sanchez, Logen Bourque, and Renee Ramirez, as they were part of my first recruiting class. Those girls helped bring this Islanders team a long way and their leadership roles will be missed. As far as the offseason is concerned, we need to continue to play our game and move forward into taking that next step. I like where we are at and I know that our girls will come out strong for next year."
Bourque finished an impressive career with her 12th double-double of the season with 42 assists and 13 digs. She wraps her career as the all-time career-assist leader in Islanders' history with 4,516 assists. She set the all-time assist mark for a single season with 1,310 assists and moved into second place in the record books with 1,096 career digs.
Ashley Phelps propelled the Islanders' offense with 16 kills on an impressive .368 hitting and Ivy Baresh poured in 13 kills. Defensively, Shayla Maldonado led the team with 16 digs while Ramirez and Baresh added nine apiece.
UCA hit .324 in the match and out-blocked the Islanders 8-7. The Sugar Bears also tallied nine service aces in the set. Heather Schnars powered the team with a match-high 21 kills while the Southland Conference Player of the Year Marissa Collins passed out 56 assists.
Central Arkansas (28-3, 18-0 SLC) came out strong in the first set with a 13-4 lead before extending its lead to 17-6 on a 3-0 run. Phelps followed with a kill before straight errors by the Sugar Bears pulled the Islanders within eight. UCA hit consecutive kills before Brianna Brink tallied a kill. The Sugar Bears scored three straight before Baresh put down a kill and Brink followed with an ace. However, UCA answered with a pair of aces. After a kill by Sanchez, Central Arkansas clinched the set 25-13 on a kill by Jessica Nagy. The Sugar Bears hit .345 in the first set while holding the Islanders to just .053 hitting.
The Islanders bounced back to take the second set 27-25. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi hit .326 in the set and limited the Sugar Bears to just .216 hitting. Phelps led the Islanders with six kills while Bourque dished out 17 assists. The set featured 12 ties and six lead changes. The Islanders and UCA stayed even with each other throughout the set until the Sugar Bears pushed in front 23-21. However, the Islanders battled its way back with a 3-0 run to garner a 24-23 lead. During the run Baresh and Sanchez each tallied a kill while Bourque and Sanchez teamed up for the block assist. The two teams traded points before UCA evened the set at 25-25. Phelps followed with a kill and teamed up with Shaquinn Parker for the block assist to help the Islanders win 27-25.
Central Arkansas escaped to win the third set 25-22 on .310 hitting. UCA put together a 3-0 run to take a 14-11 lead before the Islanders answered with four straight points to take a 15-14 lead. The Sugar Bears responded with a 3-0 run of their own to push back ahead 17-15. UCA held the lead until Phelps registered straight points to knot the set at 21-21. After trading kills, UCA finished the set on a 3-0 run to win 25-22.
The Sugar Bears and Islanders stayed even early on in the fourth set before UCA built a 14-6 lead on a 10-2 run. Phelps followed with a kill before consecutive points by UCA forced the Islanders to call a timeout at 16-7. After trading points back and forth, Central Arkansas scored six straight to extend its lead to 24-10. Sanchez answered with a kill before UCA's Scout Brooks capped the set at 25-11 and the match with a kill.
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