HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats picked up their first two wins of the season on Saturday, sweeping past both Texas Southern and Bethune-Cookman on the final day of the Bearkat Invitational at Johnson Coliseum.

Drake finished with the weekend title, sweeping all three of its matches on the weekend, while both Taylor Cunningham and Addison Miller were named to the all-tournament team for the Bearkats.

Coach Brenda Gray’s team will now head to Lafayette, La., for three matches at the Sawyer Camillo Classic, starting Friday against Mississippi Valley State.

Sam Houston State 3, Texas Southern 0 (Box Score)
Freshman Breanne Chausse turned in eight kills on just 13 swings to lead the way as the Bearkats had no trouble dispatching Texas Southern, 3-0 (25-7, 25-5, 25-13) to kick off their day and register their first win of the young season.

Sam Houston hit a scorching .371 for the match, including .520 in the second set, and finished with just six attack errors in the match. Taylor Cunningham and Amanda Gooch had six kills apiece, while Jordan Kiley, Madison Wallace and Caroline Sheaff added five each.

Cunningham also added a match-high 10 digs, while Madilyn Miles had 15 assists and Jaclyn Ward had 13.

Sam Houston hit .370 in the opening set, connecting on 11 of 27 swings in the set, to take it 25-7. The Bearkats jumped out to a 9-2 run off a trio of kills and trio of TSU errors. They would only allow four more points the rest of the match thanks to the serving of Cunningham who served eight straight followed up by Addison Miller’s seven to finish the first set.

The Bearkats dominated Set 2, 25-5, hitting .520 while holding TSU to -.115 attacking to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Sam Houston did not complete a full rotation around the floor in the set with only five players getting a serve, with Miller once again serving out the final 12 points of the frame.

In Set 3 the Kats continued their dominance as they jumped out to a 13-5 lead early and TSU could not catch back up as Sam Houston kept their foot on the gas pedal to finish out the match 25-13.

Sam Houston State 3, Bethune-Cookman 0 (Box Score)
The Kats completed their Day 2 sweep by taking down Bethune-Cookman, 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-23) in the event finale behind a double-double from Cunningham.

The senior landed 11 kills in the three-set affair and added 17 digs along with four blocks to help the Kats edge past the scrappy Wildcat bunch. Sam Houston did it mainly with defense, holding BCU to just .056 hitting for the match, and less than .200 in each set.

Wallace was a big piece of that, finishing with a career-high 21 digs to lead all players. Addison Miller also had 10, while Amanda Gooch added nine key kills as part of a Bearkat attack that owned the offensive edge in kills, 38-30. Chausse followed up a strong first match of the day with seven more scores and Sheaff had five of her own.

The Kats opened up a 10-2 lead to kick off the match and never trailed in the opening set on their way to taking a 1-0 lead, but the second set looked as though it would be tougher midway through. Sam Houston trailed 14-11 in Set 2 before a BCU error brought Wallace to the service line. The Kats followed her serve for 11 straight points, a run that included four kills from Cunningham, which surged the Kats ahead 23-14 and pushed them to a 2-0 advantage at halftime.

Set 3 was similar, finding the Kats down 14-12 midway through, but again Sam Houston had an answer. A BCU error and a kill from Gooch knotted it up at 14-14 and a mini-run pushed Sam Houston up to a 19-15 edge. But the Wildcats came back with a 7-1 run of their own to go back up 22-20 before Cunningham put an end to it on a feed from Ward.

The Kats would follow that up by scoring four of the match’s final five points, ending things on a rejection of Jordan Jefferson by Cunningham and Chausse.

Tournament Results and All-Tournament Team

1st Place: Drake

  1. MVP – Elle Tubbs
  2. Grace Schofield
  3. Kylee Mack

2nd Place: SHSU

  1. Taylor Cunningham
  2. Addison Miller

3rd Place: Bethune-Cookman

  1. J’Nai Higgins

4th Place: TX Southern

  1. Jada Hall