The Sam Houston State University Bearkats volleyball team was unable to dethrone its rival the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks as they dropped a road match 3-1 in Nacogdoches.
SHSU entered this pivotal match second in the Southland Conference, trailing undefeated SFA by just half a game. The Ladyjacks entered the match riding a 22-game winning streak and kept that impressive run alive.
After the first set was tied 3-3 early on, SFA went on a 4-0 run and force SHSU to play catch up for the remainder of the set. The Kats kept it close, trailing 18-14 when head coach Brenda Gray called a timeout. It was all SFA coming out of the break, however, as they went on a 7-2 run to take the first set 25-16.
The second set started similar to the first, with the teams splitting the first six points three apiece. The Ladyjacks dominated the Bearkats in the middle of the set, though, eventually going up 15-7 and doing enough to hold on to win the second set 25-16.
Staring a sweep in the face, the Kats bounced back in the third set. A questionable call went SFA’s way to break a tie and give the Ladyjacks an 8-7 lead. Three more straight points put some distance between the teams as SFA led 11-7, but SHSU rallied back to take an 18-16 lead. With the set tied at 23, a long back-and-forth point ended in the Kats’ favor, and SHSU eventually won the set 28-26.
The team could only battle for so long despite a tightly contested fourth set. SFA held the edge with a 21-18 lead before taking a timeout and reeling off three straight to force the match point. SHSU battled for a short time, closing the gap a bit before dropping the set 25-21 and losing the match 3-1.
With the conference tournament just around the corner, SHSU sits in second place in the conference with a 12-2 record against SLC opponents. The Bearkats will remain on the road for their next game Saturday at noon against the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears.