by Cheval John
Here are the highlights from Day 2 of the Bearkat Invitational Tournament
Game 5: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMCC) defeats the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) 34-36, 25-16, 25-17, 25-22.
TAMCC Islanders defeated UTPA Broncos in four sets by the score of 34-36, 25-16, 25-17, 25-22.
The Broncos won the first set in a hard battle between the two teams. The set had 18 tie scores and 11 leads changes.
But the Islanders regrouped and won the next three sets to give the Broncos their second loss of the season.
Sophomore outside hitter Isabella Arcidiacono led the Islanders with 14 kills, 5 blocks and 3 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Brooke Alverson contributed with 9 kills, 7 blocks, 4 aces and 8 blocks.
Freshmen outside hitter Michelle McNamee led the Broncos with 7 kills, 3 blocks, an ace and 4 digs, while junior middle blocker Sarah Davis and junior outside hitter Ijanae Holman each contributed with 6 kills.
Game 6: Louisiana Tech (LATech) defeats Rutgers 25-23, 24-26, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12
LATech Techsters defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in five sets by the score of 25-23, 24-26, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12.
Sophomore outside hitter and Brazil native Clara Vido led the Techsters with 21 kills, 11 digs, 2 assists, a block and an ace.
Senior setter and fellow Brazil native Bianca Bin had 43 assists, 4 kills, 10 digs, 6 blocks and 2 aces, while middle blocker and Huntsville native Caitlin Germany had 7 kills, 6 blocks, 6 digs and an ace for the Techsters.
“To win the game in five sets shows us that this year we’re going to be in good competition against the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) schools,” Germany said.
Junior middle blocker Alex Jones led the Scarlet Knights with 18 kills, 9 blocks, 3 digs and an ace, while freshmen outside hitter Sofi Cucuz contributed with 11 kills, 6 aces, 2 blocks and 2 digs.
Game 7: Sam Houston State (SHSU) defeats Islanders 25-21, 25-15, 23-25, 25-22
SHSU Bearkats defeated the Islanders in four sets by the score of 25-21, 25-15, 23-25, 25-22.
Senior outside hitter Carli Kolbe led the Bearkats with 21 kills, 18 digs, 3 aces and a block.
“Carli wants to win,” graduate assistant coach Jason Curnalia said. “She has taken her leadership in her four years to another level and the girls are following her lead.”
Sophomore middle blocker Haley Neisler had 9 kills, 5 blocks, 5 digs and an ace while senior setter Kym Loving had 49 assists, 13 digs, 2 aces, 1 kill and a block for the Kats.
The Bearkats won the first two sets, but lost the third set in the match.
The fourth set was another battle between the two teams with 18 tie scores and 7 lead changes. Neisler’s two kills gave the Kats a boost that would lead them to win the set and the match against the Islanders.
“Haley is a quiet presence on the court,” assistant coach Curnalia said. “She has the talent and the ability to put the ball away.”
Senior outside hitter Jessica Korda and sophomore middle blocker Brooke Alverson led the Islanders with 10 kills each, while freshmen outside hitter Ashley Phelps contributed with 6 kills, 2 digs, 1 ace and a block.
Game 8: Scarlet Knights defeats the Broncos 25-20, 25-22, 25-13
The Scarlet Knights defeated the Broncos in straight sets by the score of 25-10, 25-22, 25-13.
Alex Jones led the Scarlet Knights with 10 kills and 5 blocks, while sophomore outside hitter Brittany Bozzini and senior middle blocker Hannah Curtis contributed with 7 kills each.
Junior middle blocker Sarah Davis and freshmen outside hitter Diara Reynolds led the Broncos with 5 kills each, while freshmen setter Shauna Miller contributed with 19 assists, 3 kills and 3 digs.
Game 9: Bearkats defeats Techsters 26-24, 25-9, 25-20
The Bearkats won the 2011 Bearkat Invitational by defeated Louisiana Tech in straight sets 26-24, 25-9, 25-20. It was the 12th time that they won the tournament in its 36 year history and the first time to start the season undefeated since 1983.
Carli Kolbe led the Bearkats with 19 kills, 7 digs and an ace while sophomore outside hitter Kelli Stewart had 10 kills, 6 blocks and 1 dig.
The first set was an uphill battle for the Bearkats as they were trailing four times by a total of three points.
Stewart set the tone with a kill that brought the Kats within two. The Techsters would gain another point on an attacking error by Kolbe to make it 24-21. With Kolbe two key kills and an attacking error by the Techsters’ Clara Vido would tie the match at 24-24.
Haley Neisler and Kolbe each had a kill that completed the comeback and won the set for the Bearkats.
The Kats would cruise the final two sets to sweep the Techsters and win the tournament.
Kolbe finished the tournament with 62 kills and was named the “Most Valuable Player.”
“It’s really great to start off 4-0,” Kolbe said. “We have played some really good teams and we wanted to start the season strong.
She was also named to the Bearkat Invitational All-Tournament team along with middle blocker Kim Black, who had 28 blocks in the tournament and setter Kym Loving, who had 156 assists and 36 total digs.
“Winning the tournament solidifies our hard work over the last two and a half weeks of preseason,” Loving said.
Junior libero Jamie Haas contributed in key moments of the tournament and she finished with a total of 36 digs.
“Jamie is wearing the different color for a reason,” coach Gray said. “She dug a lot in the game and did her job.”
“The win means a great deal to us,” Haas said. “This is another step toward winning the conference title, so we have to go out and win the next tournament.”
Vido led the Techsters with 7 kills, 7 digs, 2 aces and an assist while junior transfer and fellow Brazilian Marcella Braz contributed with 4 kills, 4 digs and an ace.
Junior transfer Stephany Salas was also named to the Bearkat Invitational All-Tournament team, finishing with 65 total digs for the Techsters. Joining her on the team are Brooke Alverson, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Juri Franzen, Texas-Pan American and Alex Jones, Rutgers.
The Bearkats will be in Denton for the North Texas Invitational on September 2-3. They will face the University of North Texas on Friday at 7 p.m. along with the University of Cincinnati and the University of Oklahoma on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and at 4:30 p.m., respectively.
by Cheval John
The 2011 Comfort Suites/Bearkat Invitational was held on August 26-27 at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum on the campus of Sam Houston State University. University of Texas-Pan American, Louisiana Tech, Rutgers and fellow Southland Conference member Texas A&M-Corpus Christi participated along with the host university, Sam Houston State University. Here are the highlights from Day 1:
Game 1: Sam Houston State (SHSU) defeats the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) 25-14, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21.
SHSU Bearkats defeated UTPA Broncos in four sets by the score of 25-14, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21.
Senior outside hitter Carli Kolbe led the Bearkats with 11 kills and 14 digs in the game.
“Carli gave us spark today,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “It was good to see her carry the team on her shoulders when it was needed.”
Junior transfer outside hitter Kendall Cleveland had 10 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs and an ace in her first game as a Bearkat.
“Kendall balances Carli and it is nice to have two outside hitters who can terminate the ball,” coach Gray said.
“She is a great player,” Kolbe said. “She steps in and does her job really well. We are lucky to have her on the team.”
The Bearkats won the first two sets easily, but lost the third set in the match.
They battle their way through the fourth set that had 9 tie scores and three lead changes. With the score tied at 18-18, Kolbe had a kill that gave them the lead. Freshmen outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson scored the final two points that put the game away for the Bearkats.
“Deveney has that cabality and she showed it today in the game,” coach Gray said.
“We would not have win without Deveney,” Kolbe said. “She had a block and 2 kills. To step up like that as a freshman is very reassuring for us.”
Senior middle blocker Kim Black contributed with 8 blocks and 9 kills, while senior setter Kym Loving had 38 assists and 3 kills.
Game 2: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMCC) defeats Rutgers University 25-16, 25-23, 25-21
Fellow Southland Conference member TAMCC Islanders defeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights in straight sets 25-16, 25-23, 25-21.
Sophomore middle blocker Brooke Alverson led the Islanders with 9 kills, 3 blocks and 4 digs, while senior outside hitter Jessica Korda and junior opposite hitter Shannon Hullum each contributed with 6 kills.
Sophomore outside hitter and Bryan/College Station native Tiffany Regmund led the Scarlet Knights with 8 kills and 7 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Brittany Bozzino and junior middle blocker Alex Jones each had 6 kills.
Game 3: UTPA defeats Louisiana Tech (LATech) 29-27, 25-21, 25-23
UTPA Broncos defeated LATech Techsters in straight sets by the score of 29-27, 25-21, 25-23.
Junior outside hitter Ijanae Holman led the Broncos with 12 kills, 10 digs and a block, while junior middle blocker Sarah Davis followed with 9 kills and 3 blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Clara Vido and junior transfer outside hitter Marcella Braz led the Techsters with 9 kills a piece. Freshman right side hitter Anne Marie Taylor was third on the team with 7 kills while sophomore middle blocker and Huntsville native Caitlin Germany had 6 kills.
Game 4: SHSU Bearkats defeats Rutgers Scarlet Knights 25-14, 25-19, 23-25, 25-22
The Bearkats defeated the Scarlet Knights in four sets 25-14, 25-19, 23-25, 25-22.
Outside hitter Carli Kolbe led the Bearkats with 11 kills, 15 digs, 3 assists an ace and a block.
“Carli is one of our true leaders,” setter/defensive specialist Tayler Gray said. “She is a gamer and when the lights are on, she is ready to play.”
Middle blocker Kim Black had 9 kills, 9 blocks and 2 aces while setter Kym Loving had 31 assists, 5 kills, 8 digs, 6 blocks and an ace.
The Bearkats won the first two sets in the game, but lost the third set in the match.
The fourth set was a battle between the two teams with 6 tie scores and one lead change. Sophomore middle blocker Haley Neisler had two key kills that put the game away for the Kats.
“Haley did an excellent job tonight,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “She runs complete slides and blocks very well. That is what she’s there for.”
“She is consistent and when we really need her, she steps up,” Kolbe said.
Middle blocker Alex Jones led the Scarlet Knights with 15 kills, 6 digs, 4 blocks and an ace while outside hitter Tiffany Regmund had 13 kills, 10 digs and a block.
Highlights from Day 2 of the tournament will be posted tomorrow.
by Cheval John
Everyone has ambitions to change the world, whether it is recycling or making cars that would avoid using carbon emission fuels. But what about doing something that would not only have an impact on the world, but have an impact on a person and changes the direction of their career. That is exactly what happen to Jesse Starkey, Study Abroad Coordinator at the Office of International Programs at Sam Houston State University (SHSU).
During her time as an undergraduate student at Metropolitan State College of Denver, she always wanted to study abroad, but could not afford to do it. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she was looking for alternatives to studying abroad and found out about the Peace Corps.
“I have always been fascinated about cultures outside of the United States,” Starkey said. “When I found out about the Peace Corps, I felt that it would allow me to immerse myself in the culture and learn the language.”
After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in December of 2005, she applied for the Peace Corps and was accepted. Almost a year later, she was in Morocco volunteering as a small business development coordinator. In that role, she worked with a group of women that formed a weaving cooperative and taught them the basic skills to improve their business. During that time, they were able to start a two-year accredited technical school that would allow women in the local area to obtain the skills to succeed.
Then one day, her boyfriend decided to attend graduate school at Sam and so they moved to Huntsville. While she was looking for a new job, she found out about the study abroad coordinator position at SHSU.
According to Starkey, “I stumbled upon the position and I felt that it would allow me to apply the skills that I learned in the Peace Corps.”
After applying for the position, she got hired and started working in July of 2010. In her role, she assists students to find programs that will allow their credits to transfer to SHSU and international students to find housing, register for classes and to integrate in the campus community successfully.
For students who are hesitant about studying abroad, she offers this advice:
“Having international experience will be a huge benefit to those that are looking for jobs and studying abroad will allow a person to acquire that experience and to expand their worldview.”