Sam Houston State finished their home court season undefeated with a perfect 12-0 record, after defeating the New Orleans Privateers on Saturday in three straight sets at Johnson Coliseum.
The Bearkats have not been able to accomplish a clean home record in thirty years. Not only was history made Saturday, but the team celebrated their two seniors.
Outside hitters Deveney Wells-Gibson and Krista Koopman were both honored with flowers and standing ovations.
“It was bittersweet,” Wells-Gibson said. “You know when it’s your time to go, and my time is slowly coming to an end.”
Before the whistle blew for the first serve, the Bearkats sang the National Anthem in unison, which was a first for the team. Although the tones did not quite match an SHSU choir, the Kats were able to set a tone early in the first set.
SHSU established a quick lead, scoring the first five points of the set. Not once did they trail behind UNO.
The Bearkats had a .621 attack percentage with 18 kills and no errors in 29 attempts. They also had four service aces, which contributed to the 25-5 first set win.
In the second set, the Privateers fought harder to compete with the Bearkats early on. Their closest deficit of the match so far was at 9-6.
However, SHSU went on a 7-1 run to push their lead to nine.
There were four tied scores and two lead changes during the second set, but the Bearkats finished 25-16, going into the half winning two sets to none.
The third and final set started with SHSU putting the first seven points on the scoreboard. Taylor Berry ended the run with a Privateer kill putting their first point of the set on the board.
UNO amazingly fought back and tied the set at 9-9.
It was the Privateers who allowed the Bearkats another opportunity to have the lead at 17-11 after numerous attack errors. SHSU used UNO’s weaknesses to close the third set out 25-17 with nine service aces for the match.
UNO’s offense was led by freshmen outside hitter Mikayla Sellers-Wiebe and middle blocker Rondolyn Bryant who each totaled four kills. Junior libero Lauren Levy led the Privateers defensively with 16 digs. Sara Hammoutene totaled 16 assists for the day.
None other than Wells-Gibson with 11 kills led SHSU’s offense. Six of those were racked up in the first set. Koopman, who has been watching the majority of the matches from the sideline due to multiple back injuries, also got to double figures in kills finishing with 10 on her senior day.
Freshman outside hitter Jordyn Vaughn followed with eight kills. Vaughn said she felt proud to be a part of history in her first season.
“Being undefeated at home was one of our team goals and we accomplished it,” Vaughn said. “The floor protects us, and we protect the floor.”
Sophomore libero Claire Kilpatrick and sophomore outside hitter Breanna Homer had 17 and 15 digs respectively. Sophomore setter Michelle Griffith totaled 37 assists for the Bearkats.
UNO finished their road trip schedule in Huntsville and are now 0-15 in Southland Conference play and 6-23 overall. They are seated in last place.
SHSU is now 11-3 in SLC play and ranked third. Overall, they have a record of 18-9.
The Bearkats finish regular SLC competition this week on the road. They will travel to Corpus Christi to face on the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Islanders on Thursday evening. They will wrap up in Houston to take on the Houston Baptist on Saturday.