SHSU goes 1-2 in third straight tourney

Sam Houston State volleyball finished 1-2 in the Texas Christian Molten Invitational this weekend.

This is the third straight 1-2 tournament finish after starting off the season 4-0 at the Bearkats’ home tournament.

SHSU started on a low note after losing two straight matches to TCU and High Point but redeemed themselves after sweeping Arkansas-Pine Bluff in three straight sets in their last match of the tournament.

The spotlight shined on junior middle blocker Carling Urben this weekend as she contributed to the team in a confident way and was named to the all-tournament team.

“I am really happy I was able to positively contribute to my team,” Urben said. “I couldn’t have accomplished it without every single one of my teammates.”

SHSU came out mentally prepared and hungry for a victory over host and Big 12 team TCU on Friday. Yet TCU would defeat the Kats 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, and 25-16, but this was the only match of the tournament that TCU went four sets with their opponent.

Senior outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson led the Bearkats with 14 kills, and Urben came close with 11.

The Bearkats got a quick start on the match with three kills off the bat for a 3-0 lead, then sophomore middle blocker Regan McGuire put a stop to the Bearkat run and added TCU’s first point on the scoreboard.

SHSU bounced back and won the second set after dropping the first. The Horned Frogs did not let up after the competitive previous sets and took sets three and four away from the Bearkats.

Sophomore outside hitter Ashley Smith led the Horned Frogs with 16 kills while digging up 11 balls for her third double-double of the season.

There were a total of 25 tied scores and 8 lead changes through the match.

The Bearkats then took on High Point in a long and thrilling five setter that resulted in the Bearkats’ final loss of the tournament, 23-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23 and 19-17.

There were 44 ties and 27 lead changes in the entire match. High Point brought up match-point four times in the final set, finally securing the win on a smart dump by junior setter Gabi Mirand.

Wells-Gibson totaled a career best with 33 kills, which is the sixth highest single match total by a Bearkat in SHSU volleyball history.

The Bearkats completed the TCU Invitational with a quick win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff 25-7, 25-13 and 25-15 Saturday.

Freshman outside hitter Jordyn Vaughn added 11 kills for the Bearkats. Sophomore libero Claire Kirkpatrick and freshman outside hitter Brooke White each had 13 digs.

Graduate student outside hitter Ashlie Jones was the highest scorer for UAPB with just six kills.

SHSU ended preseason with a 7-6 record.

The Bearkats travel to Beaumont to take on Lamar for the Southland Conference opener Saturday.

“The group is ready for conference play and ready to reach their goals,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “Every opponent is difficult. Every team has a different dynamic that we must face. We have to focus on one game at a time and one goal. We can never look ahead.”

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