Volleyball moves to 5-4 with pair of road wins

The Bearkats are back on track. After suffering a four-game skid, including three conference losses, the Sam Houston State volleyball team posted wins over Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State to improve to 5-4 in conference play, 11-11 overall.

Both wins came on the road with the Bearkats traveling to Louisiana in hopes of getting back in the Southland Conference race and shaking off their longest losing streak of the season. With the back-to-back victories, Sam Houston State remains in fourth place in the SLC-West behind Texas State (12-9, 5-4 SLC), who defeated the Bearkats in San Marcos on their first meeting on Oct. 3. Sam Houston State will face the Bobcats again Oct. 9 at Johnson Coliseum.

Over the weekend, senior outside hitter Cynthia Yarotsky posted a pair of double-doubles to lead the Bearkats with 37 kills and 30 digs in two matches.

“I can’t say enough about Cynthia’s role on the team or her performance,” SHSU head coach Brenda Gray said. “She’s a senior and she’s definitely leading the team at the level she needs to be.”

On Friday, the Bearkats faced Southeastern Louisiana (9-12, 0-9 SLC), the bottom-feeders in the SLC, and took the win in four sets, 30-27 17-30 30-19 30-26.

“I didn’t think we played our best in the first game,” Gray said. “We played good in the first set, and I really don’t know what went wrong in the second set. But then we obviously went ahead and finished it out with the win.”

Yarotsky, who leads the conference in kills with 324 on the season, led the team with 19 kills and 18 digs against the Lions for her fourteenth double-double performance in 21 games this year.

Following their victory over the Lions, the Bearkats traveled to Nicholls State on Saturday where they picked up their second win in two days. The Colonels took the loss to Sam Houston State in three sets, 30-21 30-21 30-28.

Yarotsky, posting another double-double performance, led the Bearkats at the net with 18 kills and 12 digs. Megan McNamara took top assist honors with 28.

Several key matches shook up the Southland Conference over the weekend as McNeese pulled a pair of upsets over SLC-West No. 2 Texas-Arlington (13-9, 6-3 SLC) and SLC-East No. 2 Central Arkansas (20-6, 6-3 SLC).

Sam Houston State travels to Stephen F. Austin (19-6, 9-0 SLC) today in their second match against the Ladyjacks this season. SFA defeated the Bearkats in Huntsville on Oct. 12 in four sets, tying the longest consecutive conference-win streak in the SLC with 58. The Ladyjacks bested that record this Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana for their 60th straight conference victory.

“Stephen F. is a very good ball club,” Gray said. “But if we play at the level we need to and play our best, I really think we have a shot. We just have to stay consistent.”

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