HUNTSVILLE, WALKER COUNTY Two of the six teams unbeaten after the first week of Southland Conference volleyball – Sam Houston State and Texas A&M – meet in a 7 p.m. showdown Thursday night in Huntsville.
Thursday is $1 concession night and SHSU residence hall night at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. A large crowd is expected for the Islander versus Bearkats matchup.
Sam Houston is the defending Southland Conference volleyball champion. Three starters are gone from last year’s squad including two all-league players, but the young Kat team appears to be taking up where they left off last season.
The volleyball team is 3-0 in Southland action and has won five of its last seven matches. Each of those five victories has come in three sets.
A junior, a senior and a freshman are the offensive leaders for the Kats. Junior Deveney Wells-Gibson leads the squad with 155 kills (3.97 per set). Senior Haley Neisler has added 81 kills and freshman Shleby Genung was totaled 64.
Senior setter Tayler Gray has assisted on 382 of Sam Houston’s 464 kills this season. Gray is averaging 3.08 digs per set while freshman libero Breanna Homer leads the squad with 3.79.
Sam Houston’s Southland wins have come over Lamar, Nicholls State and McNeese State. The Bearkats own a 6-6 record for the season.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi brings a 7-6 overall mark and a 2-0 Southland record into Johnson Coliseum.
The Islanders defeated McNeese and Houston Baptist in their opening Southland matches, both in three sets. A&M-Corpus Christi also owns non-conference wins over Air Force and Texas-Arlington.
Ivy Baresh is TAMUCC’s top offensive threat with 158 kills in 13 matches this year.
The matchup with the Islanders Thursday is the first of two home contests for the Bearkat volleyball team this weekend.
Sam Houston plays host to Houston Baptist Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for Sam Houston home volleyball matches are available now online at www.gobearkats.com. For more information, call the SHSU athletic ticket office at (936) 294-1729.