HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats hit their second lowest percentage of the season and could not hold off a determined Abilene Christian squad on Tuesday night as the Wildcats swept the Kats, 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-22) at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
Despite taking their third straight loss, the Bearkats (13-12, 9-3 SLC) still remain just one loss back of Central Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference standings with just four matches remaining in the season. The Kats will host SFA in the home finale on Saturday after hosting Lamar on Thursday in a game set to be aired on ESPN3.
Jordyn Vaughn had a dozen kills, but no other Bearkat was able to muster more than five as Sam Houston hit just .108 for the night, its lowest output since hitting just .064 against Murray State earlier in the season.
The Kats finished with 10 blocks, eight coming from Taylor Cunningham, while Jaclyn Ward had a hand on five to go with 28 assists. Addison Miller continued her strong libero play with 23 digs.
Meanwhile, ACU (10-14, 6-6 SLC) hit just .171 for the match, but had a pair of players – Jacy Smith and Marybeth Sandercox – who had 10 apiece.
Sam Houston started off strong and looked poised to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the match, going up 14-7 in the early going before ACU started to come back. Vaughn had four kills in the set and Sam led as late as 21-18 before the Wildcats scored three straight to tie it up. A kill from Brooke White put Sam back in front, but an ACU block and a kill from Smith surged ACU in front for the first time at 23-22. An attack error by Kaitlyn Mueller retied it at 23-23, but the Kats answered with two of their own on the next two points to give the set to ACU.
ACU carried the momentum over into the second set, racing out to a 14-7 lead of their own in quick fashion. They would hit a match-high .250 in the set and never let the Kats any closer than six points as late as 20-14, going up 2-0 at the intermission.
The Kats amped up the defense early on in the third set before five consecutive ACU points gave them a 15-9 advantage. Three Wildcats would match Vaughn’s four kills in the set, but the lead still stood at 18-11 before Cunningham and Ward combined for three consecutive blocks to get the Kats back in it at 18-14. Kills from Vaughn and Courtney Littlefield cut the lead to 21-19 and a score from Ashley Lewis narrowed it to 21-20, but the Kats could not convert on a potential tying point. ACU followed with two straight points and eventually cashed in on their third match-point try to close it out.