CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team is off to the best Southland Conference start in program history after a 3-1 victory (25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16) over Incarnate Word Thursday evening in the Dugan Wellness Center. The Islanders improve to 4-1 in league play and 9-7 overall after a balanced performance against first-year conference member Incarnate Word (5-8, 1-4 SLC).
Ivy Baresh tallied her seventh double-double of the season with a match-high 16 kills and 18 digs to lead the Islanders, who have won six of its last seven matches. Brianna Brink and Sarah Sanchez also contributed to the Islanders' offense with 12 kills apiece on .333 hitting. Logen Bourque dished out a season-best 57 assists, just two short of matching her career high of 59 assists, set in 2011.
The Islanders' defense powered the team tonight with a season-high 78 digs and four players finished in double figures. Baresh and Hailey King each tacked on 18 digs apiece and Renee Ramirez and Megan Olivarez both tallied 10 apiece. The Islanders also controlled the net with eight blocks with the help of Shaquinn Parker who recorded four blocks and Bourque who registered a season-best three blocks.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 5-0 lead to open the first set, but the Islanders answered back with four straight points to even the set at 8-8. The Islanders and Cardinals battled back-and-forth with six ties. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi answered with a 3-0 run to take their biggest lead of the set at 22-17. During the run, Sanchez added a pair of kills while UIW committed a hitting error. The Islanders and Cardinals battled back-and-forth until Incarnate Word pulled within three on a pair of kills. However, Ashley Phelps capped the set with a kill to help the Islanders garner the first set 25-21. Sanchez came out strong in the first set with six kills on .667 hitting and the Islanders out-hit the Cardinals .297 to 0.69.
The second set featured 18 ties and six lead changes. The Islanders and Cardinals stayed neck-and-neck until 22-22. Sanchez and Haley Satterwhite Day followed with back-to-back kills to push the Islanders ahead 24-22. Parker and Bourque then teamed up for the block assist to lead the Islanders to a 25-22 second-set victory. The Islanders out-blocked the Cardinals 4-2 and were powered by Brink who notched five kills on .444 hitting.
The Islanders gained momentum and opened the third set with an 8-3 lead to force Incarnate Word to call their first timeout of the set. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi continued to build their lead to 10-5 after kills by Baresh and Satterwhite. The Islanders pushed ahead with a 6-0 run later in the set to take a 20-11 lead. Brink jumpstarted the run with a kill and Sanchez added a kill after consecutive Cardinal errors. After a Cardinal timeout, the Islanders scored straight points on UIW errors and a Baresh kill. With the Islanders ahead 20-11 the Cardinals fought their way back with nine straight points to knot the set at 20-20. Baresh ended the run with her 10th kill of the match but three consecutive points by the Cardinals put the visitors in front 23-21. After a Cardinal error pulled the Islanders within one, UIW answered with back-to-back kills to take the third set 25-22.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi bounced back in the fourth set with a 25-16 victory. The Islanders and Cardinals battled early with a 7-7 set tie, but the Islanders scored four straight points to push ahead 11-7. During the run, Parker added a pair of kills and teamed up with Bourque for a block assist. The Islanders stayed in front the rest of the way with their biggest lead of the set coming at 22-13 after Sanchez tallied her 12th kill of the match and Incarnate Word recorded an attacking error. The Cardinals answered back with back-to-back kills but the Islanders finished the set and the match with a kill by Parker and a block assist by Satterwhite and Parker. The Islanders hit .257 in the set and Baresh recorded six of her 16 kills in the fourth set.
The Islanders will remain at home Saturday, Oct. 5 to take on Abilene Christian at 1 p.m. in the Dugan Wellness Center.
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