Sam Houston State University volleyball improved to 3-0 in Southland Conference play tonight. The Bearkats did it in style by sweeping the New Orleans Privateers in their first home match of the season at Johnson Coliseum.
UNO grabbed the first point, but a touch by Breanne Chausse started a run of three straight points as SHSU jumped out to a slim early advantage. A back-and-forth match remained close as the two squads found themselves deadlocked at 10 apiece.
SHSU used its first timeout after the Privateers reeled off three consecutive points to pull ahead 13-10. Good defense and long rallies contributed to the Kats having just eight kills in 22 attempts for a .227 hitting percentage. A block by Kaira Hunnicutt and a kill by Chausse had the Kats moving in the right direction, but a pair of UNO points halted any potential rally.
Five errors and aggressive offense helped the Privateers pull ahead 21-17, but back-to-back kills by freshman Catherine Krieger and Hunnicut and a service ace by Madilyn Miles after a Bearkats timeout got SHSU back into a match that was eventually tied 23-23.
A Privateers error and a joint block by Chausse and Elise Smith allowed the Kats to edge out UNO 25-23 and take a pivotal first set.
Krieger made a name for herself, notching 13 kills and hitting .455 in the match. She credits the team and the staff around her for making her transition to the collegiate level as smooth as possible.
“Everyone has been very welcoming, even the coaches,” Krieger said. “It’s been an easy fit with everyone and just been a great year so far.”
A kill from Chausse drew first blood for the Kats in the second set. UNO eventually called a timeout trailing 8-4, but managed to snatch the first point out of the break to close the gap to three. The Bearkats then started to pull away, increasing their lead to 20-12.
A brilliant touch over the net by Morgan Janda interrupted a potential Privateers rally, but UNO fought back and narrowed the deficit to 22-18—forcing head coach Brenda Gray to call a timeout and regroup.
A kill by Krieger out of the timeout looked like it would give SHSU the momentum, but the Privateers tallied a trio of consecutive scores as they crept closer 23-21. It was Krieger’s hot hand again, however, that picked up a huge kill to force the match point. Krieger took care of things herself as a kill ended the match and gave SHSU a commanding 2-0 lead.
“It took everybody to get it done,” Gray said. “I thought Krieger] had a good night. The rest of the team looked a little sluggish I thought, but it is nice to get back home and get in the groove of being here.”
UNO came out swinging in the third set as the Privateers took the first three straight points with their backs against the wall. A clutch kill by none other than Krieger later in the set notched it up 9-9 before a service ace by Miles gave SHSU a slight 10-9 lead. From there, SHSU’s good defense from Elise Smith and a handful of attack errors by UNO led to the Kats taking 12 out of the last 16 points to finish off a sweep of the Privateers.
SHSU will look to continue their undefeated season Oct. 5 when they welcome the Southeastern Louisiana Lions at 1 p.m.