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Texas A&M-CC beach volleyball repeats as Southland Conference tournament champs

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi beach volleyball repeats Southland Conference tournament champions
Posted at 11:02 PM, Apr 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-25 11:05:28-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders repeat as Southland Conference tournament champions after defeating Boise State 3-1 on Monday at the Dugan Stadium Courts. The Islanders punch their ticket to the NCAA DI tournament for the second year in-a-row.

In consecutive seasons, Kiley Lewis hammered the spike that clinched the championship victory. This time, three pairs were battling in the third set. If Boise State won them all that meant the title would be theirs, but all the Islanders needed was one more pair win.

"Especially coming down to like the last little points and this is for the championship," Kiley Lewis, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi graduate student, said. "It really meant a lot to be able to clinch the championship and go to the NCAA Tournament now."

The Islanders improved on their best record in program history, now at (24-9), and have not dropped a match to a Southland opponent since the 2021 season. It marks the third championship in two years after the Islanders won the tournament for the first time in 2022 and won the inaugural regular season title this season.

"I blacked out that last point. I do not remember anything," Guiliana Poletti Corrales, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi senior, said. "It is so emotional. Having all of these people around it just made it 100 times better."

The tournament pair MVP went to redshirt junior Shea Slusser and sophomore Kela Moreno. In extra points, Moreno and Slusser finally got the two points they needed to solidify the grueling 19-17 set three win to give the Islanders the 2-0 lead.

"I think we've really bonded on and off the court, and I think having a special friendship also helps like in our game when we do play for our team," Slusser said.

The duo, an All-Conference Second-Team pair, went perfect (3-0) over the weekend at court four.

"This partnership is awesome. This team is awesome," Moreno said. "It truly is a testament to our hard work out-working every team."

The championship was originally scheduled for Sunday at Waters Edge Park, but much-needed rain in Corpus Christi postponed the title game to Monday at 5 p.m. at the Dr. Jack Dugan Stadium.

"Fulton Construction literally worked on this complex to make it playable from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. around the clock," Gayle Stammer, Islanders Beach Volleyball head coach, said. "That's why we're playing here today."

Under Coach Stammer, the Islanders are (8-1) in SLC Tournament matches and now (5-0) all-time against Boise State.

It will be just the second time ever A&M-Corpus Christi will go to the Big Dance after earning the league's automatic bid, making it the first time in program history to make an appearance in back-to-back years. The Islanders will play the first round of the NCAA DI tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala. May 5-7. The selection show is on Sunday, April 30.

A&M-Corpus Christi 3, Boise State 1
1. Poletti Corrales/Lewis (AMCC) def. Chartier/Land (BSU) 19-21, 24-22, 15-13
2. Tome/Bobay (AMCC) def. Anderson/Christensen (BSU) 21-12, 21-15
3. Guerra-Acuna/Patock (BSU) def. Jade Bennett/Tori Johnson (AMCC) 16-21, 21-18, 15-12
4. Slusser/Moreno (AMCC) def. Wolthuis/Mejia (BSU) 21-17, 15-21, 19-17
5. Fernandes de Melo/Doyle (AMCC) vs. Benson/Vetter (BSU) 19-21, 21-17, 14-12, unfinished