PROVO, Utah – The Sam Houston State Bearkats took the opening set from No. 13 BYU on Friday night, but the Cougars rallied on their home floor to pick up a 3-1 (24-26, 25-13, 25-16, 25-18) win at Smith Fieldhouse on the second day of the BYU Doterra Classic.
The Kats (1-4) were playing their first nationally-ranked opponent since 2016 and looked strong early on before the Cougars (4-1), who advanced to the Final Four a year ago, kicked it into high gear.
Ashley Lewis led the Kats with 15 kills, leading SHSU in kills for the fourth time in five matches this year, while Catherine Krieger joined her in double figures with 10 scores of her own.
Madilyn Miles just missed a double-double with 18 assists and nine digs, while Addison Miller led the Kats with 13 digs.
The Kats hit just .146 for the match while the Cougars swung at a .354 mark and were led by a trio of players with at least 10 kills.
The first set was back and forth throughout, and the Kats looked poised to go up 1-0 in the match as they held a 21-18 set before the Cougars rallied to score four straight points to take their first lead since 16-15.
But the Kats immediately forced a BYU error and then re-took the lead on a kill from Kaira Hunnicutt. Still, the Cougars had a set-point try just two points later, but Ashley Lewis fought it off with a kill that sparked a quick 3-0 Bearkat spurt that ended with Madilyn Miles dumping a score over the net to give the Kats a 26-24 win.
The Cougars got it going in the second set, hitting .438 and staking themselves to an early 12-6 lead before cruising to a 25-13 win to square the match.
In Set 3, the Kats had things all knotted up at 9-9 after back-to-back aces from De’Janae Gilmore. But BYU responded with a 10-1 run that broke the match open on their way to going up 2-1, hitting .552 for the set with just one misfire on 29 tries.
The Cougars would go on to score 14 more kills in the final set, also picking up half of their eight service aces for the match. Sam Houston held an early 6-4 lead on a kill from Krieger and a BYU error, but BYU answered with six straight points and never surrendered the lead again, building the advantage as high as seven late in the set.
The Kats will close out the weekend in Utah on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. CT when they take on LIU in a match that will be aired on the WCC Network.