HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats have gotten off to just the start they wanted in Southland Conference play, and they will look to keep that momentum going this weekend when they hit the road for a pair of matches at Nicholls and McNeese.
The Kats have gotten off to a 4-0 start in league play after three wins at home last week, their best start to conference play since a 6-0 start in 2013. One of those wins came last week against Nicholls and a win on Thursday over the Colonels would secure the 14th consecutive season that the Kats have swept the season series.
The senior outside hitting tandem of Jordyn Vaughn and Brooke White continues to pace the Kats with two of the three top kill averages in the Southland. Vaughn is coming off a week that saw her win the Southland’s Offensive Player of the Week honor after averaging 5.00 kills per set in wins over Nicholls, New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. Currently she leads the league with a 3.80 per-set average, while White’s 3.62 average ranks third.
The Kats, along with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, are the only remaining teams unbeaten in league play. Sam Houston has done it on the strength of tremendous defense in its first four SLC contests, holding their opponents to .086 hitting in those four matches, a mark 83 points better than the next closest.
Setter Jaclyn Ward has seen her production increase, averaging 11.21 assists per set in directing the Bearkat offense to .240 hitting in SLC matches. Madison Wallace has already picked up nine service aces in those four matches and Taylor Cunningham has averaged 1.14 blocks in that span, while Addison Miller’s 4.71 digs per set in SLC matches is sixth best in the league.
The Colonels have had a rough start to Southland play, dropping each of their first five matches, with three being sweeps. The Kats handed Nicholls its third SLC loss last week on Tuesday with a sweep at Johnson Coliseum behind 15 kills from White and a dozen from Vaughn.
Meanwhile, McNeese has been solid so far this year and holds a 3-2 league mark coming into the week. The Cowgirls highlighted their pre-conference schedule with a win at the Flo Hyman Invitational at the University of Houston, knocking off Mississippi State, Houston and Stetson along the way.
Since opening up conference play they have already picked up road wins at Abilene Christian and UIW along with a home win over Nicholls. Their losses have come at the hands of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Houston Baptist.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Sam Houston has dominated the series with the Colonels, owning a 41-6 record against Nicholls dating back to 1981. The Kats have been even more dominant of late, having won 17 in a row against Nicholls with the last defeat coming in 2003.
Sam Houston owns a 25-19 advantage in the all-time series against the Cowgirls, including wins in nine of the last 11 meetings. The Kats will be going for their fifth straight win at Memorial Gym, not having fallen in Lake Charles since the 2008 season.