ATLANTA, Ga. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats took care of business on Friday, spoiling Georgia State’s home opener with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-12) win over the Panthers in the opening match of the GSU Invite at the GSU Sports Arena.
The win put an end to a modest two-match losing skid for the Kats (4-3) and pushed Sam Houston back over .500 for the young season. Sam Houston hit .270 for the match and turned in a balanced effort offensively with three players leading the way with nine kills.
Taylor Cunningham was one of those three and turned in another all-around match, adding 10 digs and four blocks to her totals. Meanwhile, freshman Breanne Chausse continued to shine in the early part of her career, landing nine kills on 17 swings without an error. Amanda Gooch also added nine scores on 16 tries, while Madison Wallace just missed a double-double with eight scores and 10 digs to go with three blocks.
Jaclyn Ward handled the majority of the setting duties, dishing out 32 assists with seven digs and two blocks. Addison Miller also added eight digs and a kill.
Sam Houston will close out the GSU Invite on Saturday with a pair of matches, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CT when they battle Ole Miss in the day’s opener. They will close it out at 3:00 p.m. when they take on Chicago State.
Cunningham delivered six scores on 10 swings in the opening set as the Kats took the early lead on GSU. They opened up with a quick 7-2 lead before GSU roared back, eventually tying things up at 16-16. But a kill from Ward was followed by two straight scores from Jordan Kiley, and from there the Kats did not surrender the lead. Amanda Gooch made it a 23-19 lead and Cunningham followed by putting the Kats at a set-point try before her second straight score closed it out at 25-21.
After hitting .300 in the opening set, the Kats did not slow down much in the second set, hitting a blistering .293 as a team to roll to a 2-0 lead. Gooch did the majority of the damage with four kill son six tries, while Jordan Kiley and Chausse got in the action with three kills apiece. They needed all they could get to neutralize GSU’s Dzemila Hadzic who had six kills on 10 attempts in the set.
After the Kats closed out the second set, they ran away from the Panthers in a 25-12 win in the third set. Despite hitting .200, its low percentage for a set in the match, Sam Houston made life difficult on the Panthers defensively. The Kats forced GSU into -.114 hitting, allowing just seven kills while forcing a dozen misfires. Sam Houston needed just 11 kills to close out the final set, getting four from Chausse. Cunningham had just two kills in the third set, but had a hand in all four SHSU blocks.