San Antonio – Texas A&M International University had 50 kills and made all the plays when they needed to, edging St. Mary’s University, 30-28, 31-29, 30-28, in Heartland Conference volleyball action Saturday afternoon at Bill Greehey Arena.

The Rattlers and Dustdevils slugged it out for three games, with the lead changing hands 23 times and the match being tied 36 times. But TAMIU won the points that mattered most in the match. In game one the Rattlers trailed most of the way, but finally broke through when Kori McCarver (Fr., San Antonio) reeled off three straight service aces, giving St. Mary’s a 25-23 lead. However, the Dustdevils won the next four points to take a two-point lead and won the game 30-28.

In game two the Rattlers led 29-26 and were serving for the game. But back-to-back kills by Amanda Montemayor and Nicole Gipson pulled the Dustdevils to within one point, then three straight attack errors by the Rattlers wrapped up the come-from-behind win for TAMIU. In game three the Rattlers trailed early, only to rally late. A Samantha Weber (Sr., Fort Lupton, Colo.) kill late in game three gave the Rattlers a 26-25 lead.

Weber led the team offensively with 15 kills and three blocks. McCarver posted a double-double with 14 kills and 14 assists. As a team the Rattlers had 11 service aces, with McCarver picking up four and Stephanie Solano (So., San Antonio) posting three. But TAMIU won the next three points and Gipson ended things with her 23rd kill of the match.

Gipson was nearly unstoppable, picking up 23 kills against just one attack error in 30 attacks. Ladys Montano had 11 kills, while Brittany Smith picked up 10 for the Dustdevils.

St. Mary’s fell to 13-12 overall, 7-4 in Heartland Conference play with the loss. TAMIU improved to 8-15, 5-5. The Rattlers will return to action on Wednesday when they host the University of the Incarnate Word in a pivotal Heartland Conference match at 7 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.

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