Sam Houston volleyball defeats UCA for first place

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Conway, Ark – Kaylee Hawkins totaled 18 kills as Sam Houston State came from a set down to defeat Central Arkansas 27-29 25-18 25-14 25-19 in a battle for first place in the Southland Conference volleyball race.

The victory extended Sam Houston’s winning streak to 11 matches, the Bearkats’ longest since the program moved up to the NCAA Division I level. With an 11-2 record, the Kats take a half game lead over Central Arkansas in the 2012 title race.

The Bears dropped to 11-3 in league play. Sam Houston owns a 16-9 season record while UCA is 23-4 for the year.

Two other Bearkats totaled double figure kills as Kendall Cleveland posted 14 and Deveney Wells-Gibson had 10.

UCA overcame a 14-0 Bearkat lead to take the first set. But, even after a demanding five-set victory over Oral Roberts Thursday night, the Bearkats charged back to win the next three sets.

“Friday morning, I don’t think we had anything left in the tank after the five-setter at ORU,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “But the girls are hitting on all cylinders now. This was a great team effort and a big win.”

Tayler Gray assisted of 45 of SHSU’s 55 kills. Haley Neisler totaled seven blocks and Hawkins and Kim Black each had five apiece.

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