TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-6) AT MCNEESE STATE (6-6)
Tuesday, Sept. 17 • 7 p.m. • Memorial Gym • Lake Charles, La.
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team will open Southland Conference play Tuesday against McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. at Memorial Gym. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
The Islanders open conference play with a 4-6 record after a competitive preseason schedule. The team sealed victories against Air Force, UALR, Mississippi Valley State and a sweeping 3-0 victory on Saturday against UT Arlington. The Islanders finished with a 2-1 record over the weekend at the Hilton Maverick Classic and were led by Ashley Phelps and Ivy Baresh who both were named to the all-tournament team. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is averaging 13.1 kills per set while limiting their opponents to just 12.3 kills per set. The Islanders' defense has also been strong with 14.9 digs per set.
Baresh continues to shine on the outside with a team-high 121 kills and 3.36 kills per set, which is ranked fifth in the conference standings. Brianna Brink (12th SLC) is close behind with 101 kills and 2.81 kills per set. Sarah Sanchez has also highlighted the Islanders' offense. She stepped into a new role this season that she hasn't been in since high school. The senior has moved into the middle blocker position and has collected 53 kills and a team-high 15 block assists. Logen Bourque is currently ranked third in the conference standings with 380 assists and 10.27 assists per set. Defensively, the Islanders are led by Hailey King, who sits in 10th place in the conference with 3.67 digs per set in the libero position.
After finishing third last season in the conference with a 12-6 record, the Islanders will look to build upon that success on Tuesday against the Cowgirls who finished 10th in the conference last season with a 1-17 record. McNeese State comes into Tuesday's contest with a 6-6 record with victories against Chicago State, Providence, Alcorn, New Orleans, Southern and Prairie View A&M. Malina Sanchez (2nd SLC) leads the Cowgirls with 3.77 kills per set and 166 total kills while Vanessa Bentley (8th SLC) runs the offense with 8.30 assists per set. The Cowgirls have three players ranked in the top 15 of the conference in blocks with Amber Fryer leading the way in 10th place.
Tuesday's match will mark the ninth meeting the two schools with the Cowgirls holding a 3-5 advantage. Last season, the Islanders secured both matches against McNeese State. The Islanders clinched a 3-1 victory in Lake Charles, La. and Brink recorded 11 kills while Baresh tallied 18 digs in the match. Bourque dished out 47 assists to lead the team. In the second meeting, the Islanders swept the Cowgirls 3-0 at home on senior day. Phelps tied a career high with seven kills and Bourque passed out 27 assists.
After Tuesday's match, the Islanders will continue conference play on the road Thursday, Sept. 19, against Houston Baptist in Houston, before returning to the Coastal Bend on Friday, Sept. 20, to take on UTPA in the Dugan Wellness Center.
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