NACOGDOCHES -- Carli Kolbe totaled 18 kills including two in the final four points of the decisive fifth set to lead Sam Houston to a first round victory over Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference post-season volleyball tournament at Johnson Coliseum Friday night.
SFA, the host team in the tournament and the No. 4 seed, held a two sets to one lead, but No. 4 seeded Sam Houston roared back to win the fourth set to even up the match.
After taking a 5-2 lead to start the fifth frame, the two teams were tied nine times with four lead changes.
Stephen F. Austin served for the match at 16-15, but Kolbe powered over a kill to knot the set again. Then, on match point for Sam Houston at 17-16, Kolbe scored again for the match winner.
Sam Houston (15-18) defeated Stephen F. Austin (20-9) 25-21 18-25 17-25 25-15 18-16. The Bearkats will play No. 1 seed and regular season champion Texas State-San Marcos at 4 p.m. in the semifinals. McNeese and Lamar play earlier Saturday in the other semifinal.
The two winners will meet Sunday at 2 p.m. in the finals in a match that will be televised to a regional audience on the Southland Conference TV network. Channel 55 The Tube in Houston will carry the match. The tournament winner earns the Southland?s NCAA Division I national playoff berth.
Haley Thomas totaled 13 kills for Sam Houston and Brittanie Wallace and Anna Ferguson each added nine.