LAKE CHARLES, La. – Four Bearkats finished in double-digit kills and Sam Houston fought off a rough first set to remain unbeaten in Southland Conference play, taking down McNeese, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-18) on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
Taylor Cunningham and Jordyn Vaughn each had 16 kills for the Kats (9-9, 6-0 SLC) who hit .216 for the match and remained the lone unbeaten squad in Southland play. Cunningham hit .560 for the match and had four blocks, helping the Kats hold the Cowgirls (12-9, 4-3 SLC) to less than .200 hitting in each of the final three sets.
Meanwhile, White had a dozen kills and Madison Wallace turned in her best match of the season, putting together the second double-double of her career with 13 kills kills and 14 digs. She was one of four Kats with at least 10 digs as they were led by Addison Miller’s 16. Ashleigh Traylor also had 10 while Jaclyn Ward had a double-double with 52 assists and 12 digs.
The Bearkats could not overcome an 8-0 Cowgirl run midway through the set, despite five kills from Cunningham and four from White in the frame. Sam hit just .091 with 10 attack errors in Set 1 and found itself down 16-9 after the McNeese run. Still, the Kats climbed all the way back, tying it up at 22-22 on a kill from Wallace before allowing three of the final four points to go down 1-0.
Cunningham and White carried things over into Set 2 with the junior middle blocker scoring six times with three blocks, while White added five kills and seven digs. Sam found the floor for 17 kills in the set and allowed the Cowgirls just nine kills of their own, but still had to play comeback again. An early McNeese run had them up 16-10 before a score from Wallace got Sam Houston going. Five more points followed to tie it up at 16-16 and Wallace bookended the run with another score to put the Kats up 17-16. From there Sam kept going and despite McNeese fighting off one set-point try, White was able to close it out for a 25-23 win.
The Kats took control midway through Set 3 and never looked back, hitting .324 behind five more scores from White and another four from Vaughn. A McNeese attack error sparked a 7-2 run that broke a 10-10 tie and Sam led by as much as seven at 23-16 on a Cowgirl service error. Vaughn got the Kats to a set-point try with a score to make it 24-17 before the Kats closed it out go to up 2-1 in the match.
Vaughn did most of her damage in the clinching set, scoring half of her 16 kills as the Kats scored eight of the set’s first 10 points to roll to a 25-18 win. Sam would hit .312 while holding McNeese to just .129 and led by as much as 18-8 after a 6-0 run.
The Kats will close out a three-match road swing on Thursday when they travel south to take on Houston Baptist at Sharp Gym. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.