Match three pits No. 3 Sam Houston State against No. 6 seed McNeese in a 4 p.m. serve. SHSU enters the tournament with a 13-3 record in conference action. The Bearkats will look to extend the season on the shoulders of the 2018 Southland Player of the Year, Taylor Cunningham. Sam Houston State’s defense has been a stalwart, limiting opponents to a .153 hitting percentage – good for ninth-best nationally. McNeese closed out its conference slate with an 8-8 mark following a three-match sweep of Northwestern State. Paige Harvell has been a staple at the net for the Cowgirls, ranking 19th nationally with 135 blocks.Friday’s nightcap features No. 2-seeded Central Arkansas against tournament host and No. 7 seed Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m. The Sugar Bears lead the Southland Conference in team hitting percentage (.247) and assists per set (12.7) after winning their last eight matches. Northwestern State has 1,193 kills this season, playing to an 8-8 conference mark. Top-seed Stephen F. Austin takes on No. 8 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the tournament’s opener Friday morning at 11 a.m. Debbie Humphreys, the 2018 Katrinka Jo Crawford Coach of the Year recipient, has captained her squad to straight-set finishes in five of its last seven matches. SFA is currently riding the nation’s longest active winning streak at 26 matches. The Ladyjacks’ 29 match victories this season represent the most in NCAA Division I volleyball and is tied for most single-season wins in SFA program history. Stephen F. Austin is headlined by first team All-Conference selections Haley Coleman, Danae Daron and Setter of the Year Ann Hollas. The Islanders clinched the tournament’s final spot with a straight set road win over Incarnate Word in the regular-season finale. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Madison Green leads the Southland Conference and ranks 14th nationally with a pair of triple-doubles this season. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be streamed live from Natchitoches on the Southland Conference Digital Network, available at southland.org/live and the league’s apps, available for phones, tablets, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Tony Taglavore and Greg Miller will handle the first two rounds. No. 4 seed Abilene Christian will square off against No. 5 seed Houston Baptist in Friday’s second contest. Opening serve is slated for 1:30 p.m. ACU heads into Friday’s match with a 10-6 conference record and a 13-15 overall mark. Abilene Christian has averaged 2.32 blocks per set for a combined 252.5 blocks throughout the season. Houston Baptist was one of four programs to conclude conference play with an 8-8 record. The Huskies secured the five seed with a tiebreaker advantage over McNeese, Northwestern State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. HBU leads the conference and is third in the nation for team kills (1,548), team aces (194) and total team attacks (4,352). Tournament Central | BracketNATCHITOCHES, La. – Postseason play begins Friday in the three-day 2018 Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament. The single-elimination championship is hosted by No. 7 seed Northwestern State at Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, La. The winner will claim the Southland’s automatic qualifier for the 64-team 2018 Division I NCAA Volleyball Tournament. The championship match will be an exclusive presentation of ESPN+, available via ESPNPlus.com and the ESPN app. Lyn Rollins will handle play-by-play duties and Tiara Gibson will provide color commentary. Friday’s action features four quarterfinal matches at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. CT. Saturday’s schedule calls for semifinal contests at noon and 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s championship is set for 3:05 p.m.