The victory avenged Sam Houston's first round loss to the Mavericks last year when the Bearkats were hosting the Southland post-season event at Johnson Coliseum.
The Bearkats rallied after a first set loss to win 25-27 25-21 25-22 22-25 15-12 to up their season record to 18-12. Sam Houston will meet No. 2 seed UTSA in the semifinals Saturday. The Roadrunners knocked off No. 7 seed Stephen F. Austin in three sets in the first match of Friday's quarterfinals.
Sam Houston and UTSA will meet at 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The pair split this year, UTSA winning in three sets in San Antonio and the Kats ending UTSA's 12-match winning streak in five sets in Huntsville.
After Friday's victory, Sam Houston now stands 5-2 in five set matches this season. The Bearkats are making their 11th appearance in the Southland post-season semifinals. This year marks Sam Houston's 17th trip to Southland post-season play.
Junior Kaylee Hawkins also posted double figure kills with 17. Hawkins and libero Jamie Haas each led the defense with 20 digs. Kym Loving posted a season high 53 assists on Sam Houston's 64 total kills.
Kendall Cleveland and Kim Black each took part in six blocks.
Each set was close. The first was tied 16 ties, the last at 25-25 before the Mavs won two consecutive points to go up 1-0. Sam Houston rallied to win the next two sets and were tied in the fourth at 9-9. But UTA went on a 16-13 run to force a fifth set.
With the score knotted at 10-10, UTA committed two consecutive errors and Loving served an ace to put the Bearkats up by three, 13-10. The Mavericks served at 12-14 and Hawkins delivered a kill for match point.
The championship match will be Sunday at 2 p.m., with the winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
All seven matches of the 2011 tournament will be streamed live and for free on SLC NOW at southland.org. The championship match will be televised by the Southland Conference Television Network to over 20 markets in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, plus worldwide on ESPN3.com. Visit southland.org/television for a list of affiliates