NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Ladyjack volleyball team picked up its third win in its last four matches on Wednesday, slipping by Piney Woods rival Sam Houston State, 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 31-29), behind a match-high 17 kills from Arielle Daron.
SFA (11-13, 4-5) had dropped the last three contests with Sam Houston State (10-14, 4-5) dating back to 2008, including a 3-2 loss in Huntsville a mere two weeks ago. But Wednesday was a different story as the Ladyjacks overcame a first-set loss to take the next three, including a back-and-forth battle in the final frame.
The Bearkats finished with 11 blocks on the net, but SFA had eight before halftime and added another eight in the final two sets as well. With defense at the forefront, neither squad was able to muster even a .100 attack percentage for the match.
Daron only had her hand in on one block, but delivered 11 of her 17 kills in the final two sets to lead the offense. MC Bottles landed a dozen scores and took part in seven blocks, while Lindsay Hill and Sabrina Burns had six rejections as well.
Madison Hanlan became the 13th Ladyjack to go over 1,000 digs for her career, keeping alive a team-best 22 balls, while Kelsey Owens was right behind her with 14 digs along with nine kills.
All-conference outside hitter Carli Kolbe once again led Sam Houston's offense with 17 kills, but hit just .160 as she committed nine errors on 50 swings.
It was a 6-1 run to break a 17-17 tie late in the first set that gave SHSU the early 1-0 lead before the Ladyjacks rallied to knot it up going into the half despite hitting just -.027 in the second stanza.
The Ladyjacks upped that percentage in the third set to .250, committing just two errors on 44 swings in the frame while the Bearkats misfired 10 times, including errors from Kelli Stewart and Kym Black for the final two points of the set, giving SFA a 2-1 lead.
But the Bearkats did not go quietly in the fourth frame, instead keeping the set close and scoring three consecutive points when SFA had a pair of match points beginning at 24-22, gaining a set-point of their own at 25-24. But Sam Houston could not cash in and after the teams traded miscues, Owens found the floor once and Daron three more times to close it out.
The Ladyjacks will try and even their league record on Saturday when they travel to Thibodaux, La., for a match with Nicholls at Stopher Gym.