CONWAY, Ark. – Ashley Phelps propelled the Islanders' offense with a career-high 21 kills, and four Islanders finished in double figures in digs, but Central Arkansas edged the Islanders 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24) Saturday afternoon at the Prince Center. After UCA (19-3, 11-0 SLC) captured the first two sets, the Islanders battled back to win the third set before dropping an intense fourth set. The match featured 27 ties and 11 lead changes.
Along with Phelps' performance, Shaquinn Parker recorded 11 kills, one short of tying her career high to help the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's (14-10, 9-4 SLC) offense. The freshman also posted five block assists. Logen Bourque registered her ninth double-double of the season with 43 assists and 13 digs. Ivy Baresh led the Islanders' defense with 15 digs while Shayla Maldonado added 14 and Megan Olivarez chipped in 11.
The Islanders jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the first set and extended its lead to 13-10 after a kill by Parker. The Islanders and Sugar Bears rallied back and forth until Central Arkansas took a three-point cushion on a 4-1 run. After an Islanders timeout, Phelps and Brianna Brink hit consecutive kills to pull the team within one. After a UCA kill, Phelps put down another kill before Central Arkansas pushed its lead back to two. Baresh followed with a kill, but a 4-0 run by UCA put the Sugar Bears up for good. Baresh added another kill, but Central Arkansas finished the set 25-20 with a block.
The second set was a back-and-forth battle that featured 10 ties. The Islanders and Sugar Bears went neck-and-neck until a 3-0 run by UCA pushed the home team up 23-20. After both teams committed service errors, Phelps followed with a kill to trim the deficit to two. However, the Sugar Bears captured the set 25-22 on an Islanders' attacking error.
The Islanders' defense came out strong in the third set with a set-high 21 digs, including eight from Baresh. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi opened with a 10-6 lead on a 5-0 run and held the lead through the whole set. The Islanders extended the score to 14-8 on a trio of points, which included kills by Sarah Sanchez, Baresh and an ace by Olivarez. UCA struck back with a 4-0 run to cut the Islanders' lead to two. However, the Islanders maintained its lead to win 25-20. The Islanders went on a 3-1 run to end the set. Phelps added consecutive kills and Sanchez capped the set with a kill.
The fourth set was similar to the second set with 10 ties and three lead changes. The Islanders and Sugar Bears rallied back-and-forth early on until UCA built a 19-15 lead with consecutive kills. The Islanders climbed its way back with a pair of points to cut the Sugar Bears' lead to two at 19-17. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi then surged ahead 23-21 with five straight points. During the run, Phelps tacked on three consecutive kills and she teamed up with Sanchez for the block assist. Central Arkansas responded with back-to-back points to knot the set at 23-23. After an Islanders' timeout, both teams traded kills to even the set at 24-24. However, a kill and a block by the Sugar Bears clinched the set 26-24 and the match 3-1.
The Islanders will return home to the Coastal Bend for its final six regular-season matches before hosting the Southland Conference Tournament. First up is a non-conference match vs. Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Dugan Wellness Center. First serve is set for 6 p.m.
For all the latest on Islanders Volleyball, like the team on Facebook (IslandersVolleyball) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersVB).