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UTRGV Volleyball Wins In Five Set Thriller in Corpus

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CORPUS CHRISTI – In the first match of this year’s South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) volleyball team beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3-2 (23-25, 25-15, 25-8, 25-27, 15-11) on Tuesday at Dugan Wellness Center.

UTRGV (3-1) now lead Corpus Christi (0-4) 3-0 in the showdown standings.

Junior Barbara Silva led UTRGV by posting her first-career double-double with a career-high tying 20 kills on .450 hitting and a career-high 14 digs. Senior Ragni Steen Knudsen recorded 17 kills on .359 hitting with 11 digs. Senior Alexandra Ecker recorded a career-high 14 kills on .591 hitting with three blocks. Senior Antonela Jularic recorded 10 kills and a career-high 18 digs. Sophomore Debora Nazario dished out a career-high 58 assists.

Rachel Young led Corpus Christi with 17 kills. Jenna Lyons finished with 10 kills.

After dropping the first set, UTRGV took control of the second set early, breaking a 4-4 tie by winning four out of five serves to go up 8-5 on a Knudsen kill. Then, with the score 9-6, a Knudsen kill was the first of three-straight points to give UTRGV a six-point advantage. UTRGV’s lead was 21-14 late when three Ecker kills in a span of five serves allowed UTRGV to tie the match.

After Corpus Christi scored the first point of the third set, four Silva kills powered a 7-0 run to give UTRGV the lead. Corpus Christi got as close as six at 5-11, but UTRGV scored the next five points on kills by Ecker, Silva, Kundsen and two by junior McAllen Memorial alum Draik Banks to push the set out of reach.

UTRGV had two chance to win the match in the fourth set. First UTRGV went up 24-23 on a Silva kill before a Young kill tied the score. A Knudsen kill put UTRGV up 25-24, but after a service error, Lyons and Kylie Filipiak recorded kills to force a fifth set.

UTRGV trailed 5-6 early in the final set before kills by Jularic and Silva helped UTRGV score four in a row to take the lead. Corpus Christi got as close as two at 11-13 before a Silva block and a block by Jularic and Banks ended the match.

UTRGV competes in the Utah State Tournament starting Friday at 1 p.m. against host Utah State. UTRGV also faces No. 24 Cal Poly at 5:30.

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