ARLINGTON – The Sam Houston State Bearkats reeled off wins in each of the final three sets to take down Houston, 3-1 (16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21), to advance out of the first round of the NIVC on Thursday at the College Park Center.


The Kats (19-13), playing in their first postseason event since 1996, Sam Houston will take on the winner of UT Arlington and UTSA on Friday at 6:30 p.m. for the opportunity to move on in the NIVC. A second win in Arlington would also give the Kats 20 wins for the year, and back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since the 1993 and 1994 seasons.


Samantha Rodgers and Breanne Chausse, each playing close to home in the DFW metroplex, turned in big matches, combining for 30 kills between them. Rodgers, however, led all players in the match with 17 kills, hitting .448 for the match while Chausse delivered 13 and a pair of blocks.


Ashley Lewis finished with eight scores, but also had 17 digs and a hand in three of SHSU’s seven blocks. Madilyn Miles dished out 21 assists and Morgan Janda had 20, helping SHSU hit .154 for the match, but .233 in each of the final three sets.


Addison Miller led all players with 22 digs as well, while Kaira Hunnicutt had four blocks.


Houston rolled to an opening-set win, hitting .235 and holding SHSU to .000 hitting; however, from then on out it was all Bearkats as the SHSU defense held the Cougars to less than .100 hitting in each of the final two frames.