RUSTON, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats dominated from the very start, sweeping past Louisiana Tech, 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-16), on Saturday at the Thomas Assembly Center to claim the title at the Lady Techster Invitational.
Jordyn Vaughn had 17 kills and Taylor Cunningham added six blocks and nine kills on 14 error-free swings as the Bearkats (3-7) used 11 blocks to hold the Lady Techsters to just .042 hitting for the match.
Brooke White also had nine kills, just missing a double-double with a dozen digs. Freshman Courtney Littlefield got a hand on five blocks as one of six players with at least three rejections, and Jaclyn Ward added 31 assists from her setter spot.
White averaged 4.36 kills per set for the tournament and hit .275 on her way to winning Tournament MVP honors. Vaughn joined her on the all-tournament team after averaging 4.27 kills per set for the event, as did Ward who dished out 10.18 assists per set and directed the offense to .213 hitting.
Vaughn turned in five kills in the opening set and despite hitting just, .152, the Kats relied on their defense to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Sam turned away four Lady Techster shots, holding Louisiana Tech to just -.053 hitting in the set. The teams traded points for the first half of the frame before the Kats took off, scoring seven of the next nine points to go up 17-11. Kills by Vaughn and Brooke White added to the lead and Sam finished the set on fire with five of the final six points, including a kill by White to close it out.
The Kats got seven more scores from Vaughn in the second set and upped its offensive output in the set, hitting .312 with 16 kills as they rolled to a 2-0 lead. Addison Miller served out five straight points in the early going to run the Kats out to a 7-3 advantage and Sam just poured it on from there. Cunningham had five kills on seven tries in the set, including consecutive scores that upped the lead to 19-12. The Kats did not make it easy on Tech in Set 2, holding the Lady Techsters to .065 hitting in the set.
The Lady Techsters showed some early resiliency in the third set, jumping out to a 7-4 lead, but then the Kats got going. Cunningham and White combined on a block that sparked a quick 4-0 spurt. Tech managed to go back up at 10-9, but Ward then found White and Littlefield for kills that put Sam Houston up 11-10 and they would add on, running the lead to 18-11 on an ace by Miller. The set was the best offensive frame of the day for the Kats, hitting .370 on their way to hitting .272 for the match.
The Bearkats will next take their act to Dallas for a pair of matches next weekend at the SMU Tournament to close out pre-conference play. Sam Houston will battle Arkansas on Friday at 4 p.m. to open the event before closing it out with a 1 p.m. first serve on Saturday against TCU.