NATCHITOCHES, La. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball team suffered their first Southland Conference loss of the season on Tuesday night, falling 3-1 (10-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-19) against the Northwestern State Lady Demons at Prather Coliseum.
The Islanders (9-5, 2-1 Southland) started fast against NSU (9-5, 1-1 Southland) in the first Southland road match on the season, but were unable to overcome the home-court advantage held by the Demons.
Shannon Hullum was the only Islanders player with double-digit kills, picking up 10 in the match, while Brianna Brink and Tyger Holt had eight apiece. Micah Nolan had 18 digs to pace her team and Logen Bourque finished with 35 assists on the night.
The Lady Demons scored the first point of the opening set, but it would be the only time in the set that the Islanders would trail, as they picked up their first lead of the set at 2-1 on a Nolan service ace. With the score 4-3 in favor of the Islanders, they reeled off four straight, with two coming on a kill from Brink and an Ivy Baresh service ace, as part of an 11-1 run against the Demons.
After an Islanders service error gave NSU their only point of the run, Brink earned a kill, Brooke Alverson had a service ace and Holt picked up a kill ahead of three Lady Demons errors. After the second timeout of the set by NSU, the streak was broken on a kill by the home team, but it started another 5-0 run by Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. Brink began it with a kill, followed by one from Hullum and a Bourque service ace. The final two points came on a kill from Baresh and a Lady Demons error that made it 20-5.
NSU scored three in a row to make it 20-8, but Holt and Hullum combined for a block to stop the run. Baresh made it 23-9 before the Lady Demons scored their final point to get to double digits. A kill by Hullum made it set point, and a combined block from Baresh and Alverson ended the scoring at 25-10 to give Texas A&M – Corpus Christi a 1-0 lead in the match.
It was a much different story in the second set, with the Demons racing out to a ten-point lead at 17-7 against the stunned Islanders. NSU would eventually take a 25-12 final to even the score at 1-1 heading into the intermission.
The Lady Demons picked up a 2-1 lead in the match when they won a 25-20 battle in the third set that featured nine ties during the action. The Islanders fell behind 5-3 early on, but a kill by Hullum and a block assist from Alverson and Brink even the score at 5-5. After falling behind 14-11, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi got a two kills and a block solo from Alverson to even it once again at 14-14.
NSU scored three straight of their own to regain a 17-14 lead, but the Islanders once again rallied, getting to within one point at 20-19 on a Hullum kill. From that point on however, the Lady Demons scored the final five points of the set to make it a 25-20 final and a 2-1 lead for NSU.
The fourth set started out promising for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi as a kill by Baresh, a block solo by Alverson, a kill from Hullum and yet another block, this time by Alverson and Hullum, to make it a 4-0 start. After taking a 7-3 lead, the Demons scored seven straight points to reverse the score to a 10-7 deficit before a Tyger Holt kill snapped the streak. Hullum followed it up with a kill to cut the lead to one. It wasn't until a Holt and Hullum block, followed by a kill off a Holt set evened the score at 12-12 and another Holt kill made it a 13-12 lead that forced a Demons timeout. The score was tied as late as 15-15 in the set, but 10-4 run ended the match with a 25-19 set score and a 3-1 match win for the Demons.
Next up for the Islanders will be a Saturday afternoon match at home in Corpus Christi. They will play host to Sam Houston State starting at 1 p.m. in the Dugan Wellness Center.
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