Momentum remains key for volleyball against Lamar
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 20:10
Sam Houston State will make the first stop of their three-game road stint Saturday against the Lamar Cardinals (4-13) in Beaumont.
The two teams opened up the Sam Houston Invitational in mid-September where SHSU ousted Lamar in three straight sets.
Even though they’ve been victorious once, junior outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson believes the Bearkats need to sustain momentum heading into the heart of their conference season.
“Just because we beat them once doesn’t mean anything,” Wells-Gibson said. “[Lamar] is the type of team that fights until the last point. We have to take care of business.”
The Cardinals come into this match 2-3 in league play, placing them eighth in the Southland Conference. Senior outside hitter Sierra Whittaker and junior defensive specialist Megan Schwartz lead the Cardinals with strong offensive firepower.
Whittaker has posted 147 kills for the season, leading the team with 3.50 kills per set. Whittaker posted a match-high 18 kills against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but wasn’t able to secure a win, losing in five sets.
Schwartz leads the Cardinal defense with 233 digs on the season.
The keys to success for SHSU are energy and defending the back corners, head coach Brenda Gray said.
“Coming out strong is crucial to our success,” senior setter Tayler Gray said. “We have the talent and leadership to be a great ball club. We just have to keep the mentality of one game at a time.”
Houston Baptist tipped the back corners against SHSU’s defense last Saturday, which worked in their favor. The majority of the Huskies points fell in the back corners of the court.
Despite the win Gray stressed that there needed to be some improvement with protecting the back line.
The Bearkats enter the upcoming matchup as the current conference leaders with a 5-0 SLC record. However, Brenda Gray said conference standings are irrelevant to her team.
“This team is very composed,” she said. “They stay on an even-kill and don’t panic.”
In their previous matchup, Wells-Gibson headed SHSU’s firepower against Lamar with 12 kills with insurance from Haley Neisler’s 7 kills.
Neisler also posted three blocks against the Cardinals and has since totaled 19 blocks this season to maintain the Bearkats’ defensive presence on the front line.
The first serve is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at McDonald Gym.