SHSU shaky early, pulls out three-set win

Sam Houston State managed to pull off a three-set win over Abilene Christian on Saturday after a shaky start in the opening sets.

The Bearkats were slow to react to the Wildcats’ offense but somehow got the win after the first two sets went into extra points.

Not only was there a lack of communication throughout the entire match, but head coach Brenda Gray admitted her team had lazy tendencies.

“We were struggling a little bit,” she said. “Our passing got extremely tight, which is a sign of lazy passing, and our setting got a little too tight.”

ACU won the first two points of the first set after junior middle blocker Carling Urben hit in the net and out of bounds.

Serving was also a problem for the Bearkats. SHSU had two service errors in the first set topped by seven in the second. SHSU totaled 42 kills out of 108 total attempts while ACU totaled 27 kills in 86 attempts for the match.

ACU junior outside hitter Jennifer Loerch finished with 11 kills to lead the Wildcat offense. Her hard hits from the back row and quick tempo outside sets caused miscommunication from the Bearkats’ defense allowing her to get kill after kill.

ACU was down 11-8 in the second set, but Loerch had four straight kills tying the game at 12-12. The Bearkats made some adjustments coming out of a crucial timeout down 18-20. Urben was replaced by junior middle blocker Cherise Coleman and freshman defensive specialist Sarah Cranek served for freshman outside hitter Jordyn Vaughn.

The Bearkats pulled out a win on the second set 29-27. The Wildcats had two set points in the first set and three in the second but simply could not work their way past the Bearkats.

The third set did not compare to the previous ones. The Bearkats took a quick 5-1 lead as their offense finally began clicking. Senior outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson had two back-to-back kills, and Vaughn had a service ace.

ACU saw hope a little too late at 23-13 when senior outside hitter Taylor Nix served seven times and cut their deficit to five.

Coach Gray still envisioned how great the team played against Incarnate Word (25-14, 25-16 and 25-12) last Thursday before Saturday’s tough win.

“You can be great one night and struggle the next,” she said.

Wells-Gibson led the Bearkats with 19 kills. Vaughn and Urben shared nine kills, and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Genung added seven kills to the scoreboard. Sophomore Michelle Griffith totaled 45 assists and sophomore Claire Kilpatrick ran the defense with 17 digs.

There were a total of 31 tied scores and 17 lead changes for the match.

The Bearkats look to extend their 6-0 home-winning streak today, seeking revenge over Lamar after a loss in Beaumont on Sept. 27.

First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Johnson Coliseum.

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