Highlights from Day 2 of the 2011 Comforts Suites/ Bearkat Invitational Tournament

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.

About Cheval John

Cheval John is the founder/blogger of Vallano Media, LLC, an online media site dedicated to sports, travel and a whole lot more. Cheval is also a freelance writer and host of an online radio show called, "What's The Word?" on BlogTalkRadio. He recently wrote a book called "8 Things You Need To Do Before Quitting Your Job." The book is available on Amazon. To find out more about Cheval, visit at www.about.me/chevaljohn

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