CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball team picked up its fourth-straight Southland Conference win on Saturday, chopping down the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) sweep at the Dugan Wellness Center.
The Islanders (13-6, 6-2 Southland) won their fourth match in a row by a sweep, but it was not an easy task against SFA (14-6, 5-3) who competed the entire way and each set being decided less than five points. There were a total of 30 ties and 14 lead changes throughout the match, but a .362 team hitting percentage helped Texas A&M – Corpus Christi claim the victory.
Ivy Baresh led the team with 12 kills on a .417 hitting percentage, while Shannon Hullum also finished in double digits with 11. Courtney Hall finished with six kills on a .667 attack percentage while adding three block assists. Brooke Alverson led the team on the block, picking up two block solos and four block assists, while Baresh came up with three block assists on the afternoon. Logen Bourque came up with 38 assists in the match while Micah Nolan had a team-high eight digs.
In the opener, the home team started out fast, taking a 3-1 lead on a Nolan service ace and a kill by Alverson. SFA rallied quickly however, taking a 4-3 lead before a service error evened the score. The teams played to a 10-10 stalemate before four points in a row made it a 14-10 lead for SFA. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi fought back to level at 16-16 on kills from Alverson, Brink and Baresh while an Alverson service ace knotted it up.
Tied at 18-18, a combined block by Hall and Bourque was followed by a kill from Hullum to make it a 20-18 lead. The set was once again evened at 22-22, but a service error followed by an Alverson and Hullum block assist made 24-22. After another Ladyjacks timeout, Brink ended it with a kill for the 25-22 final and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Set two was much the same, even finishing with an identical 25-22 score and 11 ties as the Islanders took control of the match. Besides SFA's 2-0 lead to start the set, neither team gained more than one point of separation until back-to-back Ladyjacks errors made it a 9-7 lead for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. The lead flipped to SFA at 12-10, but the Islanders came right back with a kill from Baresh and two by Hullum to make it a 15-13 lead and force a Ladyjacks timeout.
Baresh and Hall kept it going after the break with a block assist before SFA got on the board again to make it 16-14. The teams evened the score at 20-20 and then traded a pair of points to make it 21-21. Kills by Baresh and Hullum put the score at 23-21, and after the final SFA point, Hullum got a kill and a service ace to finish the set.
The final period featured seven lead changes as both teams fought hard for the set. SFA opened up a 3-1 lead before a block solo by Alverson, and kills from Baresh and Alverson turned it into a 4-3 lead. The Ladyjacks quickly answered back to take a 5-4 lead, and the teams went back-and-forth throughout the set. No real separation came until the Islanders gained a 20-18 lead on a kill from Hall. The score closed to 21-20, but two kills by Brink made it 23-21, an SFA attack error brought it to match point and a block assist by Alverson and Baresh ended the match with a 25-21 win for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
Next up for the Islanders will be road matches against Lamar on Oct. 11 in Beaumont and against McNeese State on Oct. 12 in Lake Charles, La. Those two are the first of five straight Southland Conference road matches on the road.