ARLINGTON – The Sam Houston State Bearkats closed out the non-conference portion of their season in style on Saturday, sweeping a pair of matches and running their win streak to four in a row at the Maverick Invitational at College Park Center.
Madison Wallace was named the tournament MVP on a weekend that did not see the Kat (8-4) lose a set in matches against Belmont, Grand Canyon and UT Arlington. She averaged 6.22 digs per set for the weekend and was joined on the all-tournament team by both Taylor Cunningham and Ashley Lewis.
Sam Houston will return home to kick off Southland Conference play next week when they host a pair of matches at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. They will open up the week on Thursday when they host McNeese, followed by a Saturday matinee vs Lamar.
Sam Houston 3, Grand Canyon 0 (Box Score)
The Bearkats had no trouble in rolling to a 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-13) win over Grand Canyon to open up the day, led by 10 kills from Caroline Sheaff and 20 digs from Madison Wallace.
The Kats hit .291 as a team for the match behind 34 assists and five blocks from setter Jaclyn Ward who spread the offense out throughout the morning with seven players finishing with at least four kills. Sheaff did not misfire on any of her 15 swings, scoring 10 times to set the pace.
Ward was also one of three players with seven kills, joining Jordan Kiley and Ashley Lewis. Taylor Cunningham had just four kills ion 17 swings, but still made an impact defensively, getting a hand on six of Sam Houston’s eight blocks.
Wallace also continued to shine in the off-colored jersey, scoring 20 digs for the third straight match. She is averaging 6.00 digs per set in that stretch.
Ashley Lewis buried five of her seven kills on just eight swings in the opening set, helping the Kats hit .405 as a team and score 19 of their 25 points via kill to go up 1-0. A set later the Kats held the Lopes to just .191 hitting and scored four of the final six points of the set to gain control of the match.
From there they would cruise in the third set. The Kats scored just 12 kills in the final set, but forced nine GCU errors. Sam Houston jumped out to an early commanding lead with eight of the first 10 points before bookending things with five of the set’s final seven scores.
Sam Houston 3, UT Arlington 0 (Box Score)
Cunningham slammed home 13 kills as the Bearkats closed out the weekend with a convincing 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-23) win over the Mavericks in the weekend finale.
The senior went error-free on 30 tries in the match and joined UTA’s Zhanelle Geathers as the only two players in double figures in the three-set affair. The Kats finished with just five more kills than the Mavs and were out-blocked 10.0-4.0, but did much of their damage at the service line, serving out seven aces to just two by UTA.
Wallace was a big key to that, adding a career-high six aces to her 16 digs. Ward doled out 35 assists and led Sam Houston to .205 hitting, while Ashleigh Traylor (12) and Addison Miller (10) each finished with double-digit digs. Lewis totaled nine kills and a block, while Breanne Chausse had seven scores and Amanda Gooch added six.