NCAA Division I volleyball programs are allowed to participate in four competitive play dates in the non-traditional segment of spring.
"This group worked extremely hard this spring,"head coach Brenda Gray said. "We were competitive in every match. Even in the few games we lost, we were a play or two away from coming out victorious. We are very defensively sound, and the offense is coming together as well. Looking ahead, the strength of the core and chemistry of this team will be beneficial in the fall."
In the Kats' first spring event, Sam Houston swept matches with Temple Junior College, Lee Junior College and Texas Southern in Huntsville at Johnson Coliseum. Tayler Gray set the team to a .214 hitting percentage. Three Bearkats posted double figures in kills, with Kendall Cleveland (19), Kim Black (12), and Kaylee Hawkins (11) leading the way.
The next action came on March 31 at the Reliant Center as the Bearkats took on talented teams from North Texas, LSU and the University of Houston. The Kats fell to the Mean Green in three close sets and the Tigers in two hotly contested sets. They closed out the day by defeating the Cougars in two sets.
Hawkins and Cleveland led the team with kill totals of 22 and 21, respectively. Deveney Wells-Gibson (15 kills), Haley Neisler (12), and Black (10) also had strong performances. Jamie Haas collected 27 digs on defense while Well-Gibson added 23, and Gray and Hawkins chipped in 19 apiece.
Less than a week later, Sam Houston swept the Lumberjacks in three before dropping a fourth additional set as the two battled in Nacogdoches April 5.
Cleveland was the lone attacker to reach double figures in kills (12), while Black and Hawkins each added 9. Sam Houston was strong defensively as Haas and Wells-Gibson each tallied 14 digs and Hawkins added 11 of her own.
Sam Houston ended spring play against the Rice Owls April 14. The Owls edged the Kats in three competitive sets. Sam Houston bounced back to defeat Lamar in two sets.
Leading the charge offensively were Wells-Gibson with 16 kills, Cleveland with 14 kills, and Hawkins with 10 kills. Four Bearkats registered double-figure digs with Haas (21), Hawkins (19), Gray (16), and Wells-Gibson (12) leading that category. Neisler totaled 5 blocks on the day, while Black paced the team with 4 aces.
The volleyball team will be hosting their fifth annual golf scramble fundraiser at Raven Nest Golf Course on Friday, April 27.