Bearkat volleyball team win streak at eight
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 00:10
“Intensity is not a perfume; you can’t just spray that stuff on.” When asked about the catalyst of the Sam Houston State volleyball team’s recent success, Coach Brenda Gray could not have worded things more flawlessly. After all, it takes a little something extra for a team to go an unstoppable 8-0 in their last eight matches and own 24 of their last 26 sets. They know discipline. They know focus. And ultimately, they win from within.
Although Bearkat Country has been buzzing from the recent impressive streak, the volleyball team remains even-keeled, never straying from the principles that got them we they are-- tied for second in the Southland Conference standings.
“We don’t go into any one match any different that another match,” Coach Gray commented on their consistency. “We respect everybody, but don’t fear anybody…although we may adjust our game to hone in on a team’s weakness, we adjust our mentality for no one…it stays the same.”
That exact mental toughness has shaped a type of performance that leaves the Southland Conference office talking Bearkat Volleyball by the water cooler.
Outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson, the reigning Southland Offensive Player of the Week, is coming off a career-best 27 kills against Lamar, including a kill on set point that would have put the Cardinals on top two sets to none. Two points later, Wells-Gibson then served an ace-set point. Her 317 kills this season holds supreme in the conference.
Huntsville’s own Kim Black, who was chosen to wear the Southland Defensive Player of the Week honors, has not only accepted her role—she’s commanded it. Defying “senioritis”, she has led the Bearkats in blocks in eight consecutive matches and 19 of 22 contests this year. Her 109 blocks this season ranks second overall in the Southland Conference.
Tayler Gray allows the Bearkat offense to hit on all cylinders- contributing 10.59 assists per set and 837 assists this season.
With such outstanding numbers, it makes one wonder: What’s the team’s secret?
“We play hard, we practice hard, we laugh hard,” Coach Gray said. “It’s a matter of everybody accepting their role...we don’t talk about winning and losing…you will never hear that come out of my mouth.”
By focusing on work ethic instead of results, the Lady Kats’ accomplishments are hardly limited to inside Johnson Coliseum. With an overall team GPA of 3.5, they continue to live out the team’s motto and “finish first”. According to Gray, this theme keeps the Bearkats absorbed with the task at hand- no matter what it may be. By finishing strong at whatever mission is in front of them, they find themselves developing the habits that may have them eventually “finish first” ahead of the Southland competition.
“I’m an old school mentality type of coach,” Gray said. “And I’m a firm believer that discipline and structure will lead them [ the Bearkats] in the right direction.”
Sam Houston (13-9, 8-2) aims to break the second place tie as they take on Texas A&M -Corpus Christi (15-6, 8-2) tonight at 7pm at Johnson Coliseum.