HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State was kept off balanced and done in by double-digit Stephen F. Austin blocks, falling 3-0 (18-25, 22-25, 15-25) on Saturday afternoon at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The loss was the fifth in the last six matches for the Bearkats, who fell to 14-13 overall and 10-4 in league action. Sam Houston’s .089 attack percentage was its lowest in conference play this easy and worst since swinging .064 against Murray State on Sept. 2.
After winning six-straight home matches to begin league play, the Bearkats have dropped the last two by way of the sweep. Brooke White led Sam Houston with 13 kills and 14 digs while Taylor Cunningham posted 11. Jaclyn Ward tallied a team-best 30 assists.
Corin Evans led the Ladyjacks (25-6, 13-2 SLC) with 12 kills while Makenzee Hanna was a dominant presence at the net, totaling nine block assists. SFA erupted with six service aces including two a piece from Evans and Lexus Cain.
The Kats were unable to recover from a slow start as SFA never trailed in the opening set, beginning the game on a 5-0 run highlighted by a pair of service aces. The Kats were able to bring the set within one at 8-7 on a Ward kill but the Jacks were the first to reach 20, stretching their lead out to eight.
Sam Houston answered with the first three points of the second set and maintained its lead before SFA used five-straight points to take a 10-7 advantage. The go-around, the Kats rallied back, tying the match at 16-16 thanks to capturing six-of-eight points. The run would not be enough, however, as the Jacks scored the next three and staved off a late Kat run for a 25-22 win.
The Kats swung -.051 in the final set, committing nine errors while SFA was able to put home 14 kills including four from Danae Daron. In total, the match featured just eight tied scores and five lead changes.
Sam Houston hits the road for its final two Southland Conference matches beginning Thursday at A&M-Corpus Christi. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. against the Islanders. From there, the Kats trek to Incarnate Word, closing the regular season with an 11 a.m. tilt from San Antonio.