Sept. 28, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Sierra Whittaker recorded a match-high 18 kills in a heartbreaking loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8-7/3-1 SLC), 3-2 (30-28, 24-26, 19-25, 25-11, 12-15) Saturday afternoon at McDonald Gym. It was the second five-set match for the Lady Cardinals (4-12/2-3 SLC) in the past three days.
"I thought we really played hard," said head coach Justin Gibbert. "I felt like we have really stepped up to the plate during conference time. We haven't always played that well during the non-conference, but I'm proud of how the girls have been playing lately. Today, it came down to crunch time we made some mistakes in the fifth set and they took advantage of them."
Lamar appeared to be on the verge of dropping the first set but staged a late rally to pick up the victory. The Lady Cardinals trailed, 24-22, before scoring consecutive points to tie the match. From that point Lamar outscored the Islanders, 6-4, to pick up a 30-28 victory. Lamar recorded .263 attack percentage in the opening set to take the win.
Despite taking the momentum in to the second set, it was A&M-Corpus Christi that responded to the opening-match setback. The Islanders could only muster 14 kills (.043 attack percentage) in the second set but they pulled off the 26-24 win to tie the match. The Islanders extended their lead after the intermission recording a 25-19 victory.
With their backs against the wall, the youthful Lady Cardinals came out fighting in the fourth set. Lamar recorded a dominate 25-11 set victory to force a fifth-set for the second-straight outing. Lamar received some strong play from Sara Landis who came off the bench to record six kills, while hitting better than .300. Landis' play, along with Lamar holding the Islanders to a -.107 attack percentage in the fourth helped Lamar push the match to the deciding fifth set.
Lamar jumped out a three-point lead, 4-1,in the fifth only to watch A&M-Corpus Christi battle right back to take a one-point advantage, 10-9. The Lady Cardinals won the next three points to reclaim the lead before A&M-Corpus Christi closed out the match with a small run for the win.
The Lady Cardinals return to action Tuesday when they travel to New Orleans, La., to face Tulane in a non-conference match. The match against the Green Wave is slated to begin at 7 p.m.