Box Score

NATCHITOCHES, La. – The Sam Houston State volleyball team fought valiantly, but dropped a 3-0 decision to the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears, Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament at Prather Coliseum.


SLC Player of the Year Taylor Cunningham led the Bearkats with 10 kills while Madison Wallace – the SLC Libero of the Year – tallied 13 digs against the Sugar Bears.


Sam Houston jumped out to an early 3-2 lead to start the first thanks to an ace from Wallace and a Cunningham kill. After UCA took a brief lead, the Bearkats battled back and used a kill from Jaclyn Ward to lead 7-5.


However, UCA reclaimed the lead on a 6-1 run and never surrendered for the rest of the set. After going down 12-10, Sam Houston took advantage of a UCA attack error and kill from senior Jordan Kiley to tie things up at 12 points apiece. Despite Sam Houston’s best efforts, the Sugar Bears’ used a 3-0 run at the end of the set to clinch the opener 25-20.


The two teams stood neck and neck to start the second, tying on four separate occasions before either team broke through the 10-point mark. Responding to a three-point UCA run, Sam Houston capitalized on three Sugar Bear errors to even things back up, 13-13.


Utilizing kills from Ward, Amanda Gooch and a misfire from UCA, the Bearkats tied up the match four more times and came within two points of the Sugar Bears at 23-21. However, UCA’s Samantha Anderson and Haley Tippett laid down a block and a kill to put away the second set, 25-21 in favor of the Sugar Bears.


A kill from Cunningham and a Wallace ace gave Sam Houston a 2-1 lead to begin the third set and Sam Houston was able to stay ahead 4-3 after Ashley Lewis earned back-to-back points on a kill and an ace.


The Bearkat momentum was short-lived as UCA tallied three unanswered points and took a 6-4 lead. The Bearkats stayed within two points of the Sugar Bears until a seven-point run put Sam Houston in a 19-10 deficit. An attack error by UCA’s Kellen Dunn ended Sugar Bears’ streak, but an error from Cunningham made it 20-11 for UCA.


Gooch recorded the Bearkats 12th and final point of the match before UCA closed out the set with five unanswered points to claim the 3-0 shutout over Sam Houston. Sam Houston finished the season with a 22-8 overall record and 13-3 mark in the Southland Conference.