EDINBURG — Before its home opener Tuesday night, the UTRGV volleyball team saw its 2018 Western Athletic Conference championship banner unveiled in front of a raucous crowd of 1,418, the fourth-largest in program history.
But that was the only highlight of the night for UTRGV as it was swept by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 25-20, 25-22, 26-24.
UTRGV found itself trailing 7-0 in the first set, which developed into a theme. UTRGV had to battle back in each set, but itcouldn’t overcome.
“I think the girls were flat tonight. … We didn’t execute like we’re supposed to,” UTRGV head coach Todd Lowery said after the loss. “They (TAMU-CC) play a style of play that gives us fits and we allowed them to be good at what they’re good at, and that’s on us.”
Less than two weeks ago, UTRGV walked onto Corpus Christi’s home court and escaped with a victory in five sets. The Islanders returned the favor Tuesday but with brooms.
“I think we passed it a little better up there. We didn’t pass particularly well tonight. I think every time Debora (Nazario) was able to set a ball with her hands, we scored, unfortunately, we didn’t get many of those opportunities,” Lowery said.
Nazario, UTRGV’s setter, led UTRGV with 27 assists. Senior right side Barbara Silva finished with a game-high 17 kills and a hitting percentage of .424.
“We were all very excited since it was the home opener, me especially because it’s my last season. I think we let it go a little bit. We could have played better,” Silva said.
Down 2-0, however, UTRGV didn’t just bow out. They fought back during the third as the set saw 13 ties. With UTRGV and Corpus Christi knotted up at 24, the Islanders’ Chloe Simon came through with a kill, followed by a UTRGV error, which ended the match.
UTRGV will have two practices today and Thursday before the UTRGV Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
“We just have to have the mentality to go after every ball and every play counts. Don’t wait for the next ball. That’s what we were lacking here tonight, just go for every ball. If we keep that mindset, we’re going to do good,” Silva said.
UTRGV takes the floor next at 1:30 p.m. Friday as it hosts the UTRGV Tournament, which features Washington State, Houston Baptist and Texas Southern. UTRGV will face Washington State at 7 p.m. Friday. All games will be played at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.