HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkat volleyball team took a big step toward securing a high seed in the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament by rallying for a 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-11) win over Northwestern State on Thursday night at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The Kats (14-11, 10-3 SLC) entered the night a match back of the Lady Demons (18-9, 10-3 SLC) for second place in the league standings, but completed a season sweep of Northwestern State with the win to gain the advantage in any potential tiebreaker situations. The win was also the 300th Southland Conference victory for the Kats in program history since joining the league for the 1987 season.
The match also served as a head-to-head duel between the two league leaders in kills – NSU’s Hannah Brister and SHSU’s Ashley Lewis – with Lewis coming out ahead in the win column and the stat sheet. The junior from Houston turned in a huge match with 21 kills and 23 digs, hitting a solid .273 on her career-high 66 swings. Brister, meanwhile, led the Lady Demons with 18 kills while also adding a dozen digs, but hit just .069 for the night and needed 87 attempts to reach the tally.
Along with Lewis, Breanne Chausse delivered 15 kills, while Samantha Rodgers landed 10 scores and five blocks. Defensively, Addison Miller continued her stellar play with 35 digs, going past the 30-dig mark for the third time this year.
In all, the Kats had five players who ended up in double-figure digs and three players end up with double-doubles as Morgan Janda (34 assists, 17 digs) and Madilyn Miles (16 assists, 10 digs) joined Lewis in that category. Ashleigh Traylor had four kills and 17 digs, and both Kaira Hunnicutt and Elise Smith had five blocks apiece.
The Kats will wrap up the home portion of its 2019 schedule on Saturday when it hosts Central Arkansas at Johnson Coliseum for a match that will also serve as Senior Day. First serve is set for 1:00 p.m.