HOUSTON – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team bounced back in the final match of the Rice Invitational I with an exciting five-set victory over UALR to win 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 16-14) Saturday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Islanders hit a season-match high .268 and had four players finish in double-figure kills. Ivy Baresh earned a spot on the All-Rice Invitational I team.
Ashley Phelps had a career night with 14 kills and Brianna Brink also tallied a season-high 14 kills to lead the Islanders (2-4), who matched a season-match high seven blocks. Sarah Sanchez had a solid match with a season-high 10 kills and she matched her career-high of five blocks while Baresh collected 12 kills. Logen Bourque ran the Islanders' offense with a season-high 50 assists. Hailey King also finished in double digits with 19 digs.
In the first set, UALR (2-4) built a 16-13 lead until the Islanders pulled within one on a Trojans' error and a kill by Bourque. UALR rallied ahead on a 3-0 run to push ahead 20-16. After trading kills, the Trojans scored a pair of points to make it 23-17. Brink and Sanchez answered with back-to-back kills to trim the lead to four. After trading points, an Islanders' attacking error finished the first set with UALR in front, 25-20.
The Islanders responded back in the second set with a 25-21 victory. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi received a huge spark by Sanchez. She hit .556 in the set with six kills while the Islanders hit .483 as a team. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and the Trojans tied nine times in the set until the Islanders built a 19-15 lead. During the run, Shaquinn Parker and Brink each added a kill. The Islanders stayed out in front the rest of the way with Phelps finishing the set at 25-21 with a kill.
The Islanders gained momentum out of the break to take a 5-0 lead in the third set, but eight kills by the Trojans' Sonja Milanovic and six kills by Edina Begic lifted UALR to a 25-22 third-set victory. The Islanders stayed with the Trojans until a 3-0 run by UALR gave them a 21-18 advantage. Both teams traded points back-and-forth until Milanovic finished the set with a kill and a 25-22 Trojan victory.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi fought back to secure the next two sets. In the fourth set, the Islanders hit .440 and received solid play by Brink and Phelps. With both teams even at 15-15, Brink slammed down a kill and Baresh followed with an ace to push the Islanders ahead 17-15. After a Trojans' timeout, UALR knotted the score at 18-18 with back-to-back kills. The Islanders then built a 21-18 lead on a pair of kills by Brink and an attacking error by the Trojans. Out of an UALR timeout, both teams traded points back-and-forth until consecutive errors by the Trojans sealed a 25-21 fourth-set victory for the Islanders.
The Islanders carried over their momentum into the final set to propel to a 16-14 victory. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi opened the set with a 4-0 lead and never trailed until a late surge by the Trojans tied the set at 13-13. After an Islanders' attacking error, UALR took their first lead of the set with a 14-13 lead. However, an attacking error by the Trojans knotted the score at 14-14, and the Islanders followed with two straight points to capture the set and the match, 16-14.
The Islanders will return to the Coastal Bend to host its first home match of the season on Monday, Sept. 9, at the Dugan Wellness Center. The Islanders will host UTSA at 7 p.m.
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