WACO, Texas – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team rallied to a 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23) victory over Portland today in the first match of the Baylor Invitational at the Ferrell Center. Senior Brianna Brink powered the Islanders' offense with a match-high 21 kills on .308 hitting while juniors Ivy Baresh and Chelby Stanford tallied their first double-doubles of the season.
A&M - Corpus Christi (1-0) hit .253 in the match while holding the Pilots (0-1) to .218 hitting. The Islanders jumped out to a 2-0 lead after clinching the first two sets before Portland squeezed out a 25-23 third set. The fourth set featured 10 ties before the Islanders secured a 25-23 victory.
Along with Brink's 21 kills, senior Ashley Phelps collected 15 kills, and Baresh chipped in 13 kills and 11 digs. Stanford dished out a match-high 31 assists and registered 13 digs. Defensively, Hailey King notched a team-high 21 digs, just one shy of her career high of 22. Freshman Kristyn Nicholson recorded 20 assists in her college debut.
The Islanders jumped out a 25-21 victory on .286 hitting in the first set and limited the Pilots to just .261 hitting. Brink led the set with seven kills and King chipped in six digs. A&M - Corpus Christi pushed out to an early 8-6 lead before the Pilots put together a 3-0 run to take a 9-8 lead. After rallying back and forth, Phelps smashed it down to start a 5-0 run for the Islanders. After a timeout by Portland, the Islanders padded their lead to 20-16 after Brink registered her seventh kill of the set. After trading points, the Islanders secured the set, 25-21.
The Islanders kept the momentum rolling into the second set with a 25-23 victory on a set-high .366 hitting. The team took an early 8-3 lead after freshman Brittany Gilpin put down her first kill of her career. A&M - Corpus Christi padded its lead to 12-7 after a kill by Kelsee Felux. The Islanders capped the set, 25-23, after Brink exploded for her 12th kill of the match.
Portland opened with a 7-3 lead in the third set before sealing a 25-23 victory. After Felux pulled the Islanders within one with her third kill of her career, the Pilots put together a 4-1 run to force the Islanders to call a timeout at 12-8. A&M - Corpus Christi and Portland went neck-and-neck before a 4-0 run tied the set at 21-21. After consecutive points by the Pilots, Gilpin and Nicholson teamed up for a block assist to knot the set at 23-23. Portland garnered the next two points to notch the 25-23 win.
The Islanders fell behind early in the fourth set, 12-9, before Baresh put down a kill to tie the set at 13-13. Both teams rallied back and forth throughout the set. Brink registered her 20th kill to even the set at 20-20 before both teams traded points. The Islanders then closed the match and set on a 3-0 run. During the run, Baresh and Nicholson both recorded kills. The Islanders hit .204 and held the Pilots to .189 hitting. Brink chipped in six kills while Nicholson dished out 12 assists.
The Islanders will continue play in the Baylor Invitational on Saturday against host Baylor at 10 a.m., before wrapping competition at 4:30 p.m. against Southland foe Abilene Christian.
For all the latest on Islanders Volleyball, like the team on Facebook (IslandersVolleyball) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersVB).