Kats Fall in Straight Sets to Islanders, SFA Next on Schedule

The Sam Houston State volleyball team got their first taste of Southland Conference action against the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders.

The Bearkats could not capitalize on the home court advantage as they fell 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-23) in the conference opener. The Islander’s offense was attacking with full force and the Kats just could not stop it.

“I don’t know if we were overanxious or being here at home after the great postseason we had, we just wanted to show everybody what we had,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “We have faced some huge teams this year and played fantastic and made adjustments.”

With the Bearkats on the ropes trailing 2-0, the team could not afford to drop set three. The Kats found themselves up 16-12, but could not hold the lead as the Islanders splashed back taking seven of the next nine points to re-gain the lead, and eventually win the set 25-23.

“We missed two serves back to back,” Gray said. “We talk a lot about missed serves. It’s basically a three-point swing. We do that in practice. When you miss a serve not only do they get the ball, but they get a little momentum.”

Junior outside hitter Jordyn Vaughn lead the Bearkats in kills with nine and senior setter Michelle Griffith led the team in assists with 24. Sophomore outside hitter and middle blocker Amanda Gooch added two blocks on the defensive end, but it was no match as the Islanders out-blocked the Bearkats 10-3.

“Our serve-receive broke and we couldn’t get it back,” Gray said. “I was telling my setter to get it away from the pins and go to the middle of the court. Their blocking was definitely felt on our side. They are a good blocking ball club.”

Tuesday night’s loss means that the Bearkats (6-8, 0-1 SLC) have now dropped four straight. They will look to rebound on Saturday as they hit the road to face Stephen F. Austin (8-5, 1-0 SLC) before returning home to the HKC to host Nicholls on Sept. 29 and McNeese on Oct. 1. Admission will be free to all attendees.

“The crowd was great,” Gray said. “Volleyball generally has a great turnout. I hope that those who came tonight aren’t disappointed that they elect not to come back. Usually we’re pretty exciting to watch. This team will get their stuff together. This match tonight will not be the deciding factor at the end of the year. With a crowd like that, we can use that to our advantage anytime.”

First serve for Saturday’s game against SFA is set to start at 1 p.m.

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