ATLANTA, Ga. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats closed out the weekend on a winning note on Saturday, splitting a pair of matches at the GSU Invitational against Ole Miss and Chicago State.
The Kats (5-4) had a tough start to the day against the Rebels and dropped the first set to Chicago State in the finale, but rallied to take each of the final three sets against the Panthers to take the match and finish the tournament with a winning record.
Seniors Taylor Cunningham and Jaclyn Ward each were named to the all-tournament team at the end of the event.
Sam Houston returns to the Lone Star State for its final non-conference tune-up next weekend at the UT Arlington Tournament. The Kats will kick off the weekend on Friday afternoon against Belmont before Saturday matches against both Grand Canyon and UT Arlington at College Park Center.
Ole Miss 3, Sam Houston State 0
It was a rough start to the day for Sam Houston as Ole Miss rolled to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-6, 25-9) sweep over the Kats, hitting .388 as a team along the way to move to 8-1 on the season.
The Kats started off well, holding a 15-13 lead midway through the first set before the Rebels stormed back and scored 12 of the final 16 points of the set to go up 1-0. That momentum immediately carried over into Set 2 where the Rebels could do no wrong, winning 25-6 to take control of the match at 2-0.
Things did not go much better in the third set as the Kats committed nine attack errors and had just five kills, while the Rebels hit .345 for the set.
Cunningham again led SHSU with six kills to go with six digs and a pair of blocks, but no other Bearkat finished with more than three scores in the match.
Sam Houston State 3, Chicago State 1
The Kats hit .342 in the opening set against the Panthers, but allowed CSU to hit .302 themselves in falling behind 1-0. But from there Sam Houston hit no worse than .286 in each of the final three frames and Cunningham caught fire, finishing with a career-best 23 kills on just 35 swings (.543) to lead all players in the match and push the Kats to a 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-23) win.
Cunningham added 11 digs and three blocks to her totals, while Amanda Gooch put home a season-high 12 kills of her own with three blocks. Ward led the Kats to a .301 attack percentage as a team, doling out 45 assists with eight digs and three rejections.
Meanwhile, Madison Wallace was one of three players in double-digit digs with 20 of SHSU’s 67 for the match.