LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team cruised to their second straight victory with a 3-0 win (25-14, 25-21, 25-20) over McNeese State Tuesday evening in the Southland Conference opener at Memorial Gym. The Islanders hit .330 as a team while limiting the Cowgirls to just .238 hitting. Ivy Baresh and Brianna Brink put together a dominant performance to lead the offense.
Baresh led the Islanders (5-6, 1-0 SLC) with 12 kills on .333 hitting and Brink slammed down 11 kills on .450 hitting. Logen Bourque propelled the Islanders' offense with 35 assists and the Islanders' defense came up big with Bourque, Megan Olivarez and Hailey King all finishing with eight digs apiece. The Islanders also controlled the net with four blocks while limiting the Cowgirls (6-7, 0-1 SLC) to just two.
The Islanders and Cowgirls stayed even through the first set until the Islanders went on a 3-0 run with a kill by Brink, an ace by Olivarez and a Cowgirls' hitting error to push ahead 11-8. The Islanders then built a 14-9 lead with kills by Brink and an error by the Cowgirls. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi capped the first set with a momentous 7-1 run to end the first set 25-14. During the run, Sarah Sanchez and Brink added kills while Olivarez added one of her two aces in the match. The Islanders hit .370 in the set and out-blocked the Cowgirls 4-1. Brink led the Islanders in the set with five kills on .667 hitting.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi carried over their dominant first-set performance into the second set to start things off. The Islanders jumped out to a 10-3 lead before building their biggest lead of the set at 17-7 with a 5-0 run. However, the Cowgirls answered back with a 7-0 run to force Coach Graystone to call his first timeout of the match. After Brink hammered down a kill, the Cowgirls responded with back-to-back kills to pull within three. After a McNeese State service error, the Cowgirls scored straight kills to draw within two. Baresh answered with a kill before an attacking error by the Cowgirls squeezed out a 25-21 second-set victory for the Islanders. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi hit .267 in the set and limited the Cowgirls to just .180 hitting. King tallied seven digs in the set while Bourque collected six.
The Islanders and Cowgirls battled in the third set before the Islanders surged ahead 15-13 with an ace by King. After a McNeese State timeout, both teams rallied back-and-forth, before the Islanders took control at 20-18 with a kill by Shaquinn Parker. From there it was all Islanders with a 5-2 run to clinch the set and the match at 25-20.
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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