SHSU returns to Johnson Coliseum

After being on the road since Aug. 30, Sam Houston State volleyball finally returns home Thursday to face Incarnate Word.

Looking to extend their two-game winning streak, the Bearkats are determined and excited to put on a show for their home crowd for the first time this season, senior Devaney Wells-Gibson said.

“It’s like our comfort zone,” she said. “That’s where we have been training for the past two months this season. And it is our time to defend our home against conference opponents.”

Sophomore setter Michelle Griffith admits that it is a challenge going into someone else’s gym and immediately taking over the tempo of the game.

“This is our house, and we will continue to protect it this year,” she said.

Junior middle blocker Carling Urben missed playing at home and said being away for so long really makes you appreciate your home gym that much more.

Freshman outside hitter Jordyn Vaughn is far from nervous to play her first SLC home opener of her college career.

“It is such a relief to be playing here,” Vaughn said. “We’re all excited to show Sam Houston what we got.”

Entering her second SLC season, sophomore middle blocker Shelby Genung said she has been waiting for this moment.

“It is going to be so nice to be in our own gym and locker room,” Genung said. “Plus I think starting out with Incarnate Word for our first game will be perfect because we are super pumped to play them again and get payback.”

SHSU will seek revenge after last year’s unexpected five-setter loss in the Cardinals’ home gym.

UIW travels to Huntsville with a 1-3 SLC record. They are on a two-game losing streak after falling to Northwestern State on Saturday.

The Cardinals gave up a one-set lead and allowed the Demons to come back and win three straight sets in a row, bumping them to 5-12 overall.

UIW is led by sophomore outside hitter Brittani Dear, junior middle blocker Angelique Vidaurri and sophomore outside hitter Shaina Garza. The Cardinals defense is run by sophomore defensive specialist Claudia Hernandez.

The Cardinals have a disadvantage because they have yet to win an away game but beating the Bearkats last year still rests in their minds.

SHSU begin the match with a 2-1 record in SLC play and is already starting off strong with a perfect 4-0 home game winning streak from preseason.

The Bearkat coaching staff is overjoyed to be back at home.

“There is nothing like defending your home court,” head coach Brenda Gray said.

First serve will take place at 6:30 pm.

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