NACOGDOCHES – The Sam Houston State Bearkat volleyball team gave league-leading Stephen F. Austin all it could handle on Thursday night at Shelton Gym, but SFA was able to hold the Bearkats at bay for a 3-1 (17-25, 27-25, 25-17, 26-24) win.
Addison Miller became just the third Bearkat (12-11, 8-3 SLC) in program history, and the first since 2009, to reach the 40-dig mark, finishing with exactly 40 of SHSU’s 102 digs on the night. Ashley Lewis recorded 20 kills to go with 18 digs, while Samantha Rodgers delivered 14 key kills on 35 swings.
The Kats finished with more kills and digs than the Ladyjacks (23-1, 11-0 SLC), who had not lost a set at home all season prior to Thursday, but were outblocked 13.5-8.0 for the match. SFA was led by Corin Evans’ 20 kills and Danae Daron’s nine total blocks.
The Bearkats rolled to a win in Set 1, 25-17, to take an early lead in the match after holding SFA to just .089 hitting. It was the first time this season that SFA had dropped a set in its home building, and only the second set that it had dropped in league play in 2019.
Lewis turned in a big second set with half of her 20 kills coming in the set, helping SHSU erase a 20-16 deficit; however, SFA was able to fight off a pair of set-point tries before finally scoring on one of their own for a 27-25 win to tie it up at a set apiece.
Things were all tied up at 14-14 in the third set before three straight SFA kills and an ace opened things up for the Ladyjacks, sparking an 11-3 run that closed out the set and put them a set away from victory.
It looked as though SFA would close it out quickly in Set 4 before the Kats got going behind the serve of Morgan Janda. After a kill from Catherine Krieger sided out to cut the SFA lead to 17-13, Janda served out nine straight points that included SHSU forcing seven SFA errors in a 10-0 run that pushed them to a 22-17 advantage.
Unfortunately, SFA managed one final rally themselves as a kill by Daron sparked four straight points that surged the Ladyjacks right back into it at 22-21. Kills by Krieger and Rodgers had the Kats with a set-point try that would have forced things to a decisive fifth set; however, SFA was able to close it out with the match’s final three points.
The Kats will stay on the road for one more match this week, traveling to Abilene Christian for a match with the Wildcats on Saturday morning. First serve is set for 1:00 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.