Sam Houston State gave up a two-set lead over Lamar, resulting in a huge five-set upset this past Saturday in Beaumont.
The Bearkats were the first team the Cardinals beat this season, improving Lamar’s record to 1-12.
“Lamar didn’t do anything different than what we expected,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “It fell on our shoulders. We didn’t execute.”
The Cardinals started off strong in the first set leading 22-14, but senior outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson led the Bearkats to a 10-2 run, winning 26-24. The Bearkats won the second set 25-21, but this would be the last set that would fall in the Bearkats’ favor.
Lamar regrouped and gained some life in the third and never gave SHSU the lead. The Bearkats came close once when the score was tied 22-22. The Cardinals forced a fifth set after winning nine of the last 11 points in the fourth set.
“From the very beginning of set three, we were slow,” Gray said. “Even after we eluded to starting quick during the split.”
The Cardinals trailed 14-12 in the final set before making a four-point run to end the match on sophomore outside hitter Autumn Taylor’s 17th kill set by senior defensive specialist Megan Schwartz.
Wells-Gibson racked up 23 kills in 69 total attempts for the Bearkats. Junior and sophomore middle blockers Carling Urben and Shelby Genung each finished with 12 and nine kills, respectively. Freshman outside hitter Brooke White added nine kills to the scoreboard. Michelle Griffith assisted on 53 of the Bearkats 67 kills.
Sophomore middle blocker Chelsea Grant had a remarkable match for Lamar, finishing with 17 blocks (three solo, 14 assists) and nine kills.
Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Taylor led Lamar with 17 kills. Junior middle blocker Cortney Moore added 15 kills and eight blocks.
The Cardinals single-handedly out blocked the Bearkats 28-7.
Sam Houston State has not lost to Lamar in more than five years.
“We are going back to work like this team always does,” Gray said. “Nothing will prevent this group from reaching their goals. We were all a little defeated, but we will learn and move forward and take down one opponent at a time.”
The Bearkats are 0-1 in Southland Conference as they try to redeem themselves traveling to Nicholls State and McNeese State on Thursday and Saturday.