The Lady Demons (12-9 overall, 8-1 in the Southland) came away with their fifth win in a row and added to the program’s best league-start in history with the win. The Islanders dropped to 14-8, 9-2 with the loss.
"That's as good as we've played in awhile, and we’re very impressed by our team's resiliency,” said fourth year co-head coach Hugh Hernesman. “Corpus Christi is a great team and definitely stressed us on a number of occasions. Our ability to stay steady through though tough stretches is what won us the match.”
Set one was tight with 15 ties and lead changes. After trading points and tying at 11, AMCC went on a four-point run to take a 15-11 lead and force an NSU timeout. The Lady Demons battled back and took a 23-19 lead before the Islanders would go on to tie the game at 23, 24 and 25 each. AMCC gave up two-strait en-route to the 27-25 final, in favor of the Lady Demons.
The second set posed a similar script as the first with seven lead changes until NSU tacked on three straight points and put up a 15-10 advantage.
The Lady Demons chipped away at the board a few points at a time to take a 25-20 final mark.
“After the 2nd set, we preached staying slow and steady,” said Hernesman. “After they put an early run on us to start the 3rd set, we regrouped very well and executed like we have been much of the year. Keelie had a great serving-run late in the third that was crucial. We got them stuck in a tough rotation and her serving accuracy was a big reason for that.”
NSU used another four-point run in set three to take a lead mid-way through the game, putting the Islanders at an arm’s length and leaving them scoreless.
DiFrancesco tied her season kills number with 16 while adding 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. The Woodlands, Texas, native also led in service aces with two, another season-high for her.
Setters Emily Johnson and Natalie Jaeger dished out a combined 33 assists.
Johnson also dug up 12 Islander attacks for her sixth double-double of the season.
Sophomore Glynna Johnson led from the middle, putting up four blocks, followed by Mackenzie Neely and Vanessa Coleman with three each.
Libero Keelie Arneson noted 16 digs, three assists and one service ace as freshman Ashley Elrod contributed with 13 digs.
“Stacey was outstanding today,” said Hernesman, “I could tell she was feeling it early and her arm was in pretty good shape. I'm happy for her because she's been limited much of the season. It shows once again that it can just be anyone for us.”
“You never know who can jump up and hurt you with this team. It's just so balanced and Natalie and EJ (Emily Johnson) are doing a nice job of distributing the offense evenly while still giving the ball to the hot hand.”
The Lady Demons return home on Thursday and Saturday for a pair of “Dig Pink” matches with Lamar and Sam Houston State. The Lady Demons will be wearing pink uniforms in honor of breast cancer awareness month.