Islanders look forward to home tournament

The+Islanders+practice+their+volleyball+drills+while+preparing+for+their+upcoming+matches.

The Islanders practice their volleyball drills while preparing for their upcoming matches.

Gabriella Ruiz, Reporter

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi volleyball will be playing their Islander Classic Tournament this weekend where they will be facing Texas State, UTEP, and Tarleton State at the Dugan Wellness Center. 

The Islanders have played eight away matches so far with the overall score of 3-5 and will be preparing to kick off these home games as they will be streamed on the Islanders Digital Network. 

TAMU-CC finished the 2020-2021 season with an overall record of 14-5 and 9-3 in the Southland Conference. Hosting the Southland Conference Tournament at the Dugan Wellness Center, the Islanders were able to defeat all three of their opponents to win the Southland championship trophy. These student-athletes made program history for their record of 3-0 by claiming the Southland Tournament crown once again. 

This led to the Islanders being considered an automatic qualifier for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The team ended their 2020-2021 season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as they fell 3-0 to San Diego. 

Steve Greene, Head Volleyball Coach, said the experience of winning a conference title at the home floor was amazing and the Islanders were one out of 48 teams to be able to go to the NCAA championship. Greene explained how the team has nine returners coming off of a championship season and a new group of seven freshmen that he’s excited to achieve new main goals with throughout the season. “We really just work on trying to improve and get a little bit better every day,” said Greene.

Greene continued discussing his 2021 volleyball roster for the season and said that his top hitter is Rachel Young, top setter Faith Panhans, and top libero Carissa Barnes. 

Faith Panhans, a junior and top setter for the Islanders, said her goal for the season is to reach the conference tournament and go further in the NCAA Tournament with her team this year. 

“[Last year’s] season was a great season,” said Panhans. “It was much different because we had such an older group but this year our freshmen are really coming in and made a big difference already.” 

The Islanders will be looking forward to Tarleton State as their last home tournament and will be preparing for their conference season to start. Greene said Tarleton State is a well coached athletic team and said how the game will be a big challenge for TAMU-CC. “I feel like we have some very experienced players… we’ll have two or three freshmen on the floor at any given time,” said Greene.

To wrap up the home tournament, game day against Tarleton State will take place this Saturday, Sept. 18 and the first serve is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. at the Dugan Wellness Center.