Volleyball Opens Season Friday at Baylor Invitational
HAMPTON INN WACO NORTH BAYLOR INVITATIONAL
August 29-30 | Waco, Texas | Ferrell Center
Friday, Aug. 29 • 4:30 p.m. vs. Portland • LIVE STATS
Saturday, Aug. 30 • 4:30 p.m. vs. Abilene Christian • LIVE STATS
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team will open its 2014 season on Friday, Aug. 29, when it heads to Waco, Texas, for the two-day Hampton Inn Waco North Baylor Invitational. The Islanders will kickoff the weekend against Portland before taking on host Baylor and Southland opponent Abilene Christian on Saturday.
The Islanders, who were selected to finish third in the Southland Conference in both the league coaches' and sports information director's polls, will open the season at the Farrell Center for the second time in three years.
"It's a big weekend," head coach Tony Graystone said. "It's been a long time since I have been this excited about a season starting, and what our prospects are for the year. We are really looking forward to getting out there, and playing some good teams and seeing what we have right now."
A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off an outstanding 2013 season that saw them record a school-best 13-5 record in conference play along with another 20-win season. The Islanders also clinched their first tournament win in Southland history to advance to the semifinals.
This season, the Islanders have added nine newcomers to compliment their roster of seven returners. Senior Brianna Brink and junior Ivy Baresh, both Preseason First Team All-Southland picks lead the pack of returners. Brink started in 30 of the Islanders' 32 matches last season and led the Islanders in conference play with 212 kills and a .262 hitting percentage. Overall she finished the season seventh in the conference with a total of 350 kills and 11th with 3.10 kills per set. Baresh, who was tabbed First Team All-Southland last season led the Islanders in kills (379), aces (29) and digs (399), while starting in 30 of the Islanders' 32 matches. She collected 16 double-doubles during her sophomore campaign and was a consistent all-around player for the Islanders. The Arlington, Texas native, finished fourth in the conference in kills, seventh in kills per set with 3.38 and ninth in digs. She also registered 3.56 digs per set, which placed 15th in the conference.
Also returning for the Islanders' offense is senior outside hitter Ashley Phelps, a Preseason Second Team All-Southland pick, junior outside hitter Haley Satterwhite Day and sophomore right side hitter Morgan Carlson. Phelps finished second on the team last season with 3.30 kills per set. In Southland play, she matched a team-high 3.37 kills per set and earned a spot on the Southland Conference All-Tournament team.
Defensively, juniors Shayla Maldonado and Hailey King will return for the Islanders. Maldonado led the Islanders in Southland play with 4.44 digs per set and finished second on the team with 3.57 digs per set. King played in 31 of the Islanders' 32 matches, and registered a team-high 3.58 digs per set while collecting 379 total digs on the year.
Graystone enters his sixth season at the Island University and welcomes seven freshmen and two junior transfers to this season's team. Erica Luke (L), Brittany Gilpin (MB), Madeleine Doud (MB), Kirstee McGarva (OH), Kate Klepetka (DS), Maddy Wall (DS) and Kristyn Nicholson (S) join juniors Chelby Stanford (S) and Kelsee Felux (OH).
The Islanders and Portland will meet for the first time in program history on Friday. The Pilots are under the new leadership of head coach Brent Crouch after recording a 0-27 mark last season.
Baylor finished the 2013 season with a 12-20 record and returns 12 letterwinners. The Islanders and Bears will meet for the fifth time in program history. A&M - Corpus Christi opened the 2012 season at Baylor before registering a program-best 21-11 season record.
The Islanders will wrap play on Saturday against Abilene Christian. It will mark just the second meeting between the two teams. Last season, the Islanders topped the Wildcats, 3-1, at home. ACU finished the 2013 season with a 6-18 record.
Following Saturday's matches, the Islanders will trek to Edinburg, Texas, to compete in the two-day UTPA Tournament against Texas-Pan American, Northern Arizona and Texas Tech. First match is slated for Thursday, Sept. 4, against the Broncs.
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