SHSU splits weekend, remains in top echelon of SLC
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 22:10
Sam Houston State volleyball ended their six-game winning streak falling to Incarnate Word, but managed to remain in the top seeds of Southland Conference standings with their five-frame victory over Abilene Christian this weekend on the road.
The Cardinals came out as the aggressors behind the power of freshman and sophomore outside hitters Shaina Garza and Angelique Vidaurri who coupled for 32 kills in their five set match, claiming the first, second and fifth games for the match win.
Senior Bearkat setter Tayler Gray said she believed it wasn’t SHSU’s night.
“We got out hustled,” Gray said. “In the end, they were just the better team.”
UIW jumped out to an early 9-6 lead and maintained their lead as SHSU attempted to string together a series of points. SHSU was able to hinder the Cardinals’ aggression as both teams were tied 16-16, but UIW exploded for a nine-point run to deny the Bearkats and go up 2-0 in the match.
The Bearkats fought back in the third set with a dual strike in their offense and defense with Deveney Wells-Gibson and Gray leading the charge.Wells-Gibson totaled 21 kills and Gray assisted on 46 of Sam Houston’s 53 kills.
Wells-Gibson explained that the Cardinals caught the Bearkats on their heels with their aggressiveness. “I don’t think we quite matched their intensity,” Wells-Gibson said.
Sealing the net for SHSU’s defense was Haley Neisler. The Bearkats posted 10 team blocks and Neisler was involved in all of them.
SHSU continued into the fourth set and battled through two match points to pull out the win and roll on to the fifth set.
They held a lead early in the last set, but the Cardinals went on another nine-point campaign to edge the Bearkats out of the win.
However, Saturday, the Bearkats got back to their winning ways as they defeated Abilene Christian in five sets: 25-23, 16-25, 27-25, 26-24, 15-12.
SHSU’s defense sustained them through the match as they came up with 99 digs - nearly half of the Wildcats’ 204 attempts.
Wells-Gibson brought the heat as she hammered down 28 kills on the Wildcats, and Lauren Bohlen and Neisler added insurance with 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
The game was closely played as it saw 27 ties and 12 lead changes.
The Wildcats played with heavy offensive production as sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Loerch headed the offense with 18 kills. Two other Wildcats including freshmen Lexi Mercier and Erica Lamber finished with double-digit kills with 12 apiece.
SHSU trailed most of the first game right up until the very end. The Bearkats scored four straight points, capitalizing on ACU errors to steal the win.
Wells-Gibson said changes in their rotation helped the Bearkats outlast the Wildcats.
“We changed the libero to left back, that way I was available to hit more in the back row,” Wells-Gibson said. “It just opened up our offense a little more.”
The Wildcats ran loose in the middle of the second set with a seven-point lead over the Bearkats, 18-11, and they held on to the sizeable margin to defeat SHSU 25-16.
ACU’s momentum carried over into the close third frame, where they played through two match points to fend off SHSU for a second straight victory.