Thursday, Nov. 9 • 6:30 p.m. • Corpus Christi • Dugan Wellness Center
Sam Houston State (14-12, 10-4 SLC) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (12-13, 9-5 SLC)
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HUNTSVILLE – With the Southland Conference regular season nearing a close, the Sam Houston State Bearkats can secure a high seed in next week’s SLC Tournament when it hits the road for a pair of matches this week at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and UIW.
Sam Houston currently sits all alone in third place in the Southland standings with three teams right on their heels one game back. The Kats have already reached double-digit league victories for the sixth time in seven years and with a pair of wins this week can earn their highest SLC win total since totaling 14 wins in an 18-match SLC slate in 2013. The Kats will kick off their final regular season week on Thursday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Dugan Wellness Center, the site of the SLC Tournament the following week.
The Islanders, who have claimed the last two league titles, seem to have put things back in order since their 3-2 loss to the Kats on Oct. 21, sweeping each of their last three matches against Houston Baptist, Stephen F. Austin and UIW.
Senior Jordyn Vaughn continues to lead the Southland with 3.89 kills per set while Brooke White stands fifth with 3.49 kills per set. Taylor Cunningham’s .291 attack percentage ranks in the top 10 for the season, but her .348 mark against SLC foes is the fifth best among all players.
Those three will need to be big this week to help the Kats snap out of a skid that has seen them drop four of their last five matches after starting off league play with a 9-0 mark. Islander outside hitter Brittany Gilpin has begun to catch fire once again, winning the league’s player of the week honor last week after averaging 4.67 kills per set in wins over SFA and UIW.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are still in the race for a possible berth in the SLC Tournament, but will need a pair of wins and some help for a chance to get there. They put themselves in position to do so with wins in two of their last three matches, including a 3-2 win over HBU on Oct. 28.
vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
The Bearkats lead the all-time series with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by a 20-14 margin after a 3-2 win in Huntsville just two weeks ago. That win snapped a six-match losing streak to the Islanders and the Kats will be looking to snap another on Thursday, having not won in Corpus Christi in their last five matches since a 3-0 win in 2012.
Thursday will mark the sixth meeting in the series between the Kats and the Cardinals with Sam Houston having won the last four since the Cardinals picked up a win in the series opener in 2013. That includes a 3-1 Bearkat win in Huntsville earlier this year.