CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Sam Houston State Bearkat volleyball team closed out the Chattanooga Classic with its first win of the season on Saturday, sweeping ULM after dropping a match to Murray State to open the day at Maclellan Gym.
The Kats (1-5) stayed unbeaten all-time against the Warhawks (0-7) with the 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 26-24) win, getting 16 kills from Brooke White and a 12-kill, 12-dig double-double from Jordyn Vaughn in the process. White was nearly unstoppable in the opening set as she delivered nine of her match-high 16 scores in that set, helping Sam Houston hit .254 for the match and land 48 kills as a team.
Taylor Cunningham only had six kills in the match, but had a hand in seven of Sam’s eight blocks, tying her career high. Amanda Gooch added eight kills on 18 swings and Madison Wallace had 11 digs and four blocks to go with four kills, while Jaclyn Ward had a pair of kills and dished out 32 assists.
Sam Houston hit .289 in the opening set, connecting on 18 of their 45 swings in the set, but needed a strong surge to finish off ULM in the opening frame. The Kats used a 5-2 run to erase a 16-15 deficit, but found themselves tied at 21-21 late in the set. SHSU then went to White, who broke the tie with her ninth kill of the set, sparking a run that saw the Kats score five of the final seven points of the set to go up 1-0.
Sam Houston dominated Set 2, hitting .325 while holding ULM to .111 attacking to take a commanding 2-0 lead with a 10-point win.
In Set 3 the Kats found themselves down 11-6 early on before the Kats caught fire, scoring nine straight points behind Vaughn’s serve, surging ahead 15-11 before ULM was able to get back on the board. From there the Kats and Warhawks went back and forth with the teams being tied as late as 22-22 before a kill from Wallace and a ULM error gave the Kats a match-point try.
However, ULM was able to fight off two match-point tries and force a SHSU timeout. But the Kats responded out of the timeout, going to White for a score to break the tie before Vaughn delivered the finisher for a 26-24 win.
That win came after a tough start to the day that saw the Kats drop a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-18) decision to Murray State. Sam Houston struggled on the offensive end, hitting just .064 for the match and never higher than .083 in any set. Vaughn led Sam Houston with five kills to go with 12 digs, while Gooch joined her with five kills of her own.
Meanwhile, the Racers hit .229 for the match and were led by Rachel Giustino’s 16 kills.
The Bearkats will now turn their attention to Tuesday when they return to Huntsville for their season opener against Texas State. First serve against the Bobcats is set for 6:30 p.m. at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.