Sam Houston State saw another tough time in tournament play at the Flo Hyman Cup in Houston this past weekend.
With a 1-2 tournament finish, the Bearkats move to a 6-4 preseason record.
Although the Bearkats started off strong and aggressive with a huge victory over Southland Conference’s Oral Roberts, SHSU lost its momentum and was defeated 8-0 University of Louisiana-Lafayette in three straight sets 25-20, 25-12, 25-22.
Senior outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson was the only player to reach double digits in kills, putting away 16 of 39 total attempts.
The Bearkats beat Oral Roberts in a close five set game 13-25, 25-23, 20-25, 27-25 and 16-14 on Friday. Losing to ORU last season in conference play made this victory much more intense and appreciated, sophomore middle blocker Shelby Genung said.
“It was payback from last season,” she said. “We couldn’t wait to play them, and winning the close game made it that much better and fueled us for the next matches.”
Genung was the leading scorer of the Bearkats with an all-time career high of 17 kills. She was also named to the all-tournament team.
“It just feels great to know that I really helped the team and did my job on the court,” Genung said. “This is such a great accomplishment. I have a new goal to set now.”
The Eagles took control in the first set with an 11-1 run halfway through the match with freshman defensive specialist Maggie DiPronio. SHSU fought back in the second set, tying the match at one set a piece. Oral Roberts bounced back in the third and SHSU delivered top performances from Genung, junior middle blocker Carling Urben and Wells-Gibson to defeat the Eagles. Sophomore libero Claire Kilpatrick and sophomore outside hitter Breanna Homer played tough defense the entire game. Homer finished with 18 digs and Kilpatrick ended close behind with 17.
Oral Robert’s top competitors were freshman outside hitter Laura Milos, who totaled 13 kills, sophomore outside hitter McKenna Qualls with 11 kills, and senior outside hitter Sara Pope put 10 kills on the scoreboard.
Oral Roberts did out block SHSU with a total of 13 team blocks compared to the Bearkats’ 10 blocks. The Bearkats out dug the Eagles 73-68.
The Bearkats lost their fuel against the host team University of Houston Cougars on Saturday morning. The Cougars defeated the Bearkats in a competitive five setter 25-22, 25-28, 13-25, 23-25 and 16-14.
UH took the first two sets 25-22 and 25-18. SHSU rallied and held the Cougars to just 13 points in the third, a dramatic change from the previous sets. In the fourth set, there were 11 tied scores but the Bearkats jumped in front at 22-19 and won. The Cougars jumped ahead 11-7 in the fifth set, but the Bearkats answered and took the lead twice. SHSU was not able to hold on to the lead when the Cougars won the final three game winning points.
Wells-Gibson led the Bearkats with 22 kills. Freshman outside hitter Brooke White and Urben shared 12 kills apiece.
Urben believes the team has come a long way since this weekend, she said.
“This was a testament of how hard we have worked in spring to get our minds, bodies and team chemistry where it needs to be,” she said.
The Bearkats head to Fort Worth to compete in the Texas Christian University Molten Invitational next weekend to play TCU, High Point and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.