JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats kicked off the Gamecock Classic on Friday at the Pete Mathews Coliseum at Jacksonville State, but came out on the wrong end of a pair of matches.


The Kats could not dig out of an early hole against the host Gamecocks in the day’s opening match, falling 3-1 to JSU before Mississippi State stayed undefeated on the young season with a 3-0 sweep in the nightcap.


SHSU will close out the event on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. when they take on Stetson.


Jacksonville State 3, Sam Houston State 1 – Box Score
The Bearkats were on the verge of fighting back to force a decisive fifth set, but ultimately could not come all the way back from an early 2-0 deficit as the Gamecocks took the opening match of the tournament.


JSU (3-4) took each of the first two sets before the Bearkats (2-5) were able to get going. But SHSU responded with a convincing win in the third set and had two set-point tries in the fourth frame before the Gamecocks rallied to score the final four points of the match.


The Kats finished with an 11.0-7.0 advantage in blocks, led by five from Ashley Lewis, and hit a solid .234 for the afternoon. Breanne Chausse had a team-high 13 kills on 32 swings, while Samantha Rodgers had 11 and Lewis added 10 kills to her block total.


Morgan Janda saw action in all four sets, picking up 24 assists while Addison Miller had 16 digs.


Mississippi State 3, Sam Houston State 0 – Box Score

The trio of Lewis, Chausse and Catherine Krieger combined for 31 kills in just three sets, but a dozen Mississippi State blocks contributed to an otherwise inaccurate attacking match as the Bulldogs ran their record to 7-0 on the season with a sweep in the second match of the day for Sam Houston State.


The Kats let loose 44 more attacks and finished with 48 kills to just 31 for MSU in the match, but the Bulldog defense successfully rejected 12 tries and forced SHSU into 32 attack errors for the match.


Krieger finished with 11 kills, while Chausse and Lewis had 10 each in the three-setter. The Kats also finished with 59 total digs, led by a match-high 28 from Addison Miller, a mark that was just one shy of her career high set in 2017.