UTRGV went the distance against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in an exciting 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 15-13 victory Saturday at Dugan Wellness Center.

Perris Key

UTRGV (5-3) had four hitters with double-digit kills as junior setter Luanna Emiliano dished out 46 assists in a double-double effort with a season-high 16 digs. Junior right side Perris Key and freshman outside hitter Nadine Zech led the Vaqueros with 13 kills each, while the middle blocker duo of senior Luisa Silva Dos Santos and junior Margherita Giani had 12 each and recorded five and nine blocks, respectively. Key recorded her third double-double of the season as she added a career-high tying 17 digs and a career-high tying six blocks. Junior libero Kiaraliz Perez tallied 17 digs and four assists.

Kyndal Payne led the Islanders (5-4) with 20 kills, 14 digs and 4 blocks. Leah Stolfus added 17 kills and two aces, and Tayah Little had 10 kills. Setter Belle Morgan tallied 54 assists.

Luanna Emiliano

Tied at two sets apiece, it was UTRGV’s relentless defense that took main stage to secure the 3-2 win. Santos and Key combined for two blocks, and Santos added one solo block. The Vaqueros opened the first lead at 5-2, but the Islanders’ first block since the second set tied the frame at 6. Santos and Zech extended the lead to three again, but attack errors put AMCC back in the game.

With the Islanders leading 13-12, Key notched a huge momentum-swinging kill from the right side to tie, then UTRGV’s pressure on the net stymied AMCC and sealed the win.

The Vaqueros were held to a .205 team hitting percentage, but a season-best 15 total blocks and scrappy play on defense earned three more points in the South Texas Showdown standings. It was their fifth straight South Texas Showdown victory.

UTRGV plays at 1 p.m. today at the Dugan Wellness Center.