Sam Houston State’s runner-up performance in the Sam Houston Invitational reflected better floor communication in the players.
Head Volleyball Coach Brenda Gray is elated over the team’s overall performance and improvement. She said the victory over Lamar Friday night exemplified her squad’s comparison against conference rivals.
“Who cares about your record? It doesn’t matter,” Gray said. “Conference is what matters. You have to play these other games to get better.”
Sam Houston took the Lamar match in three sets, 25-22, 25-20, and 25-10.
The Bearkats showed a strong offensive presence with junior outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson and senior middle blocker Haley Neisler. Wells-Gibson totaled 23 kills for the Lamar match, while Neisler totaled 16.
In the Jackson State match Saturday afternoon, the Bearkats offensively dominated the game, winning 25-19, 25-13, and 26-24. Wells-Gibson posted 20 kills and 10 digs during the third set.
The Jackson State victory signified Gray’s 600th win; earning the recognition of only the 26th coach in Division I volleyball to accrue 600 or more wins.
Freshmen Breanna Homer and Shelby Genung showcased a solid performances this during weekend tournament, as Genung posted 28 kills total.
Homer anchored the Bearkat defense as the libero. She totaled 97 digs this weekend and was an All-Tournament selection for the Bearkats and is the Southland Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week.
Homer explained her confidence in the team as they head into conference play.
“I’m really confident about conference,” she said. “We’ve really improved and we’re playing as team.”
Washington State topped Sam Houston in the last match of the tournament, winning 25-15, 25-14, and 25-21.
The Bearkats were the aggressors at the beginning of the third match and had taken an early 12-4 lead. The Cougars committed several reception errors as the Bearkats gained momentum.
“We struggled with passing during the third set, and they came out strong,” Washington State head coach Jen Greeny said.
The Cougar offense retaliated against the Bearkats offensive momentum with a 15-10 deficit. Attack and service errors committed by SHSU helped Washington State tie the game at 16.
Gray achieved her 600th career win as a coach during the Bearkats’ runner-up effort in the Sam Houston Invitational tournament this weekend.
The game continued closely, but the Cougars capped the match with a 25-21 victory.
The Bearkats continue conference action with two road games.
They face Nicholls State September 19 at 6:30 p.m., then travel to La. to square off against McNeese State September 21 at 2:30 p.m.
The Bearkats will return to Johnson Coliseum on September 26 to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7 p.m.