Volleyball falls in four games to SFA

In an action-packed match Tuesday night in Johnson Coliseum, the SFA Ladyjacks avenged an earlier defeat by the Bearkats and won in four games, 30-24, 23-30, 30-18 and 30-21.The loss puts SHSU back into seventh place in the conference, just one place out of the conference tournament, and brings the team record to 6-6. Stephen F. Austin improved to 8-4 and held onto fourth place in the weekly standings.Chrissy Engle was the leader for the Kats with 13 kills. Carrie Sartain added 12 kills and 21 digs, while Liz Dahlstrom finished with 11 kills.Angie Wood and Jennifer Wilson attacked for the Jacks with 16 kills each, while Sunni Williams set up 54 assists. Though tied with Wilson in kills, coach Brenda Gray said the difference for the Ladyjack squad was all Angie Wood.”In game three, Angie Wood was awfully verbally aggressive,” Gray said. “She was saying things like ‘continue to take their heads off.’ She had them so listening to her and getting them pumped up, that mentally I think they got so much stronger. There’s a definite impact. To me, that’s who beat me.””We got mentally weaker, and they got verbally stronger,” she added.In game four of the match, the team rallied from a nine-point deficit to close in on the Jacks and trail by only three. The next serve for the Kats was an apparent ace, but the head official overruled the line judge, calling the ball out and awarding a point to SFA.”That was such a back-breaking call because had that been in, it’s a two point difference,” Gray said. “For him to overrule that call, with that girl right there, and it’s not like she called for me all night; it was real disappointing. We fought and fought and fought for that?” Adding to the troubles for the Kats was the sidelining of starting setter Karlee Butler in game two. Butler had been ill all day and Gray was forced to bench her. Freshman Chelsea Johnson stepped up and ended with four kills, 25 assists and 14 digs. Still, the transition was something the team had to work through. Gray said Butler was sick all day. “I saw her not being able to get her sets out. I saw her turning pink-ed and she was getting weak. So I thought I had to go with Chelsea, because the kid’s about to fall on her face. Chelsea did a good job, but with all due respect, Karlee’s run my floor all year and she can’t stand up to set the ball. It’s a big difference. When you don’t have your regular quarterback, the ball comes out of the hands different.”Defensively, the Ladyjacks totaled 16 blocks for the night, while SHSU ended with eight. Coach Gray had strong words for the blocking by SFA, which limited Sartain to only 12 kills.”Hey, it’s the second round,” she said. “She’s got 403 kills on our team versus the next man with 199. Who the hell are you going to block?”The loss was not enough to keep the Kats out of the conference tournament, though. The team is looking to defeat two more teams later this week.On Friday, the Kats will host Louisiana-Monroe. It will be Papa John’s night at Johnson Coliseum. Saturday’s match will have Northwestern in town for Alumni Night. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

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