The Ladyjacks earn a spot in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in program history and are back-to-back champions after defeating the Sam Houston State Bearkats 3-1 in the championship match of the Southland Conference tournament.
It was another difficult start for SFA as SHSU gave their all in the first set. The Bearkats went on a 4-0 run to lead 7-3. The Ladyjacks were not able to stop the Bearkats’ momentum as a long rally gave SHSU the set point from a kill that was deflected and sent out of bounds from the Ladyjacks. SHSU finished off the set with a 4-0 run to win the set 25-20.
The Ladyjacks shut down the Bearkats in the next three sets to take the title. They won the second set 25-17. The Ladyjacksstarted the second set with a 5-0 run before trading points the for the remainder of the game. A few more small runs allowed SFA to be first to 20 points. Junior defensive setter/ libero Bailey Mulder finished the set with a service ace which the Bearkatsthought was going out but fell inside the court to give SFA the set win.
The Bearkats did not give up with a tied game and kept the Ladyjacks on their heels in the third set. Sam Houston kept the lead in through most of the third set before SFA went on a 4-1 run to lead 13-11. The Bearkats responded with a 5-1 run to lead by two before the Ladyjacks went on a 5-1 run of their own. SFA finished the match with another 5-1 run to win the third set 25-20.
SFA switched things up by leading in the fourth set for most of the game. The Bearkats had one lead in the game after a 4-0 run made the score 10-9. After the teams traded points in difficult rallies, the Ladyjacks went on a long 7-0 run giving them a five-point lead 20-15. SFA’s senior setter and first team All-SLC Ann Hollas finished the game with a kill to win the fourth set 25-17.
The Ladyjacks finished the game with a .307 hitting percentage with 56 kills, 55 assists, and five service aces. On defense, they had 14 total blocks and 64 digs. Senior outside hitter Xariah Williams finished the game with 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage, three block assists and three digs. Senior middle blocker Danae Daron had 11 kills and a .417 hitting percentage and five blocks. Senior outside hitter Corin Evans led the team in kills with 14 kills as well as assisting on defense with 12 digs, gaining her 14th double-double of the season.
The Bearkats had 59 kills in the game with a .204 hitting percentage as well as 57 assist, 68 digs and 7.5 blocks. Sophomore outside hitter lead the game in kills with 16 and a .467 hitting percentage.
SFA finishes the season with a 31-1 overall record and 41 conference match wins. All-Tournament team honors went to Evans, who also was named the Most Valuable Player, Daron and Hollas.