Deveney Wells-Gibson totaled 14 points on 12 kills and two service aces to lead Sam Houston to a three-set victory over Lamar in the Southland Conference volleyball opener for both teams.
The contest also was both team’s first match in the Sam Houston Volleyball Invitational.
The Bearkats, now 3-5 for the season, defeated 1-9 Lamar 25-22 25-20 25-10. In the first match Friday, Washington State knocked off Jackson State 25-12 25-19 25-18.
Both the first two sets were close with seven lead changes in the opening set and five the second frame.
"Once we got over the initial nervousness, we executed better," SHSU Head Coach Brenda Gray said. "We dug a lot of balls and executed well in transition. We started serving better and that helped as well."
Lamar led 17-13 in the first set by two kills by Haley Neisler, who ended the contest with seven, started a Kat rally that saw SHSU win 12 of the next 17 points for the set victory.
Sam Houston took control earlier in the second set, moving into the lead to stay on a Wells-Gibson shot that put the Kats up 13-21. Lamar cut the margin to one point twice but never took back the lead.
The Kats hit their stride in the final set, jumping up to a 7-1 lead and never trailing.
Carling Urban added seven kills for Sam Houston. Tayler Gray assisted on 31 of the Kats’ 36 kills. Breanna Homer totaled 141 digs and Gray added 10.
The victory puts Gray one win away from her 600th career coaching triumph.
The Bearkats play Jackson State at 1 p.m. and end the tournament with a showdown against Washington State at 7 p.m. Lamar faces Washington State at 10 a.m. and Jackson State at 4 p.m.