Error after error, lack of communication, defense and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Genung out due to an ankle sprain cost Sam Houston State a three-set loss to Houston Baptist in Houston.
The Kats will enter the Southland Conference tournament as the No. 4 seed.
SHSU and HBU played point for point in the first set, tying it up 7-7 early on. The Huskies took a quick 13-10 lead, but the Bearkats tied the score again at 14-14. Both teams fought until the very end, but it was HBU who won the battle and took the first set 26-24.
In the second set, SHSU fell apart from the very beginning and allowed HBU to have a 4-1 run. HBU then went on a 10-4 run, gaining their biggest lead of the set 18-8. SHSU dug a deep hole and could never crawl out. The Huskies scored the last six points of the set after the Bearkats scored three more points after the big HBU run. HBU swept SHSU 25-11.
The third and final set was a lot closer than the second and resembled the first set.
The Huskies had a two-point lead at 6-4 over the Bearkats. Although HBU stayed ahead the majority of the set, SHSU cut their lead to 23-22 late in the game. That would be the last scored point for the Bearkats. The Huskies finished with two straight kills, winning 25-22.
SHSU’s freshman outside hitter Jordyn Vaughn said the team struggled to keep their energy high throughout the match.
“Nothing was clicking for us,” she said. “It was just a really off weekend.”
Moving forward from this loss, the Bearkats are trying to get their “relentless” defense that has been missing for the past few games, Vaughn added. She also said her main focus is to bring back a SLC Championship for outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson.
Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Wooten led the Huskies with 11 kills and two service aces. Senior outside hitter Megan McStravick added 10 kills and 10 digs to the stat sheet. Freshman middle blocker Blaire Gillard and senior outside hitter Bailey Keith totaled seven kills apiece.
Sophomore setter Kayla Armer finished with 37 assists for the Huskies along with four block assists.
HBU’s defense was ran by senior libero Haley Hoffman who had a match-high of 23 digs. The Huskie defense at the net was led by junior middle blocker Allison Doerpinghaus who totaled five blocks.
The leading scorer for the Bearkats was Wells-Gibson who totaled 14 kills. Vaughn finished with 11 kills and junior middle blocker Carling Urben added eight kills to the scoreboard.
Sophomore libero Claire Kilpatrick led the defense with 13 digs for the Bearkats. Wells-Gibson and junior middle blocker Cherish Coleman had three blocking assists.
SHSU’s sophomore setter Michelle Griffith finished the match with 36 assists.
Reviewing the stats, it appeared to be a pretty even match, but continuous errors hurt the Bearkats in the end.
Although the Bearkats had more kills than the Huskies at 44-41, the Bearkats had 17 more hitting errors. HBU out blocked SHSU 10-5 and out dug SHSU 56-47.
HBU finishes their regular season 9-7 in SLC play and 15-16 for the year.
With a regular season record of 11-5 in the SLC and 18-11 overall, the Bearkats prepare to play host Northwestern State in the first round of the SLC tournament.
First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. this Friday in Natchitoches, La.