HOUSTON – Grinding out another five-set victory, the Sam Houston State volleyball team (19-5, 11-1 SLC) fought hard for a 3-2, Southland Conference win at Houston Baptist, Saturday afternoon at Sharp Gym.
Sophomore Ashley Lewis gathered a career-high 14 kills off 51 attacks and Taylor Cunningham led Sam Houston with 18 kills of her own. Caroline Sheaff was the other Bearkat to reach double-digit kills with 10 on the day.
A huge force for Sam Houston against the Huskies, Madison Wallace followed up her career-high 38 digs on Thursday with another 37 against HBU – both of which are marks that rank in the top seven in program history. Three other Bearkats – Addison Miller, Jaclyn Ward and Cunningham – reached double-digit digs as well.
After jumping out to a 10-6 lead in the first set, the Bearkats surrendered the momentum after Houston Baptist went on a 6-0 run. The teams tied up the match four separate times before HBU added separation and clinched the set, 25-19, off five unanswered points.
The Bearkats were slow to start the second set but rallied from a 7-2 deficit and gained control, 17-16, thanks to HBU attack errors and numerous kills from Cunningham, Lewis and Breanne Chausse. HBU reclaimed the lead, 22-21, but Sam Houston buckled down and used back-to-back kills from Chausse and Cunningham win the second set, 25-23.
Sam Houston fell behind 4-1 early in the third set but two Husky errors and a Lewis service ace tied up the match and four points apiece. The Bearkats used four consecutive points to answer a 3-0 HBU run but the teams continued to battle back-and-forth with eight tie points. The Bearkats made a critical stop to tie up the set, 25-25, after Sheaff laid down a timely kill. Sam Houston surrendered the next point, but two HBU attack errors and a kill from Lewis gave the Bearkats a 28-26 win in set three.
Another Husky attack error gave the Bearkats their first opening set point, but four lead changes swung the fourth-set momentum towards HBU and the Huskies held on for a 25-17 set victory to even up the match, 2-2.
Entering the fifth set with focus, Cunningham delivered a kill for the opening point and Wallace followed up with her second service ace of the day. HBU answered with two points of its own but the Kats quickly regained control and went on an 8-1 run to go ahead, 10-3. Lewis’s 14th kill of the day gave the Kats a commanding 13-7 lead and one final kill from Cunningham sealed the Bearkats’ 3-2 victory with a 15-8 win in the final set.
With the win, the Bearkats improve to 11-1 in SLC action and 19-5 overall. Sam Houston is set to return home to Johnson Coliseum on Tuesday, Oct. 30 for its final home match of the season against New Orleans.