BATESVILLE, Ark. (September 9, 2014) -- Junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke earned a match-high 10 kills and helped the Golden Eagles (7-4) avoid late deficits in sets two and three as JBU narrowly earned a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) victory over Lyon (Ark.) tonight at James Becknell Gymnasium.
Bakke led all hitters with 10 kills and added six assists in the three-set match. Sophomore setter Shayna Daniels threw around 17 assists and her counterpart, freshman setter Alyssa Arnold, tallied 19 helpers while junior outside hitters Audrey Dearien and Tiffany Hunnicutt each contributed eight and seven kills, respectively, in the win. John Brown out-blocked the Scots (1-7), 5.0-3.0, and was paced by solo rejections from Dearien, Hunnicutt, Libby Blasingame and Molli Pugh.
“It was good to come out after a very short turn around and get a quality win,” said head coach Ken Carver. “Lyon definitely pushed us and is a lot better than their record to date would indicate.
“We showed good poise and execution at crucial points in each set. We've been focusing on our blocking and it came through at some really important times in the match. Our serve receive was solid tonight which allowed our setters and hitters to run a more in-tempo offense tonight.”
A pair of Dearien terminations early in the first set sent JBU to a 10-5 advantage as multiple Lyon attack errors continued the Golden Eagle lead at five, 15-10. Hunnicutt landed a pair of kills, allowing the Golden Eagles to maintain momentum, 19-15, until JBU committed a couple of errors, allowing the Scot to finally narrow the margin to 21-19. A Pugh kill momentarily eased the tension, but it was Bakke’s kill at 23-21 that finally proved the difference. Bakke finished the first set with a service ace, sending JBU to a 1-0 advantage.
Four Scot miscues allowed John Brown to take a 8-5 lead in the second set before five consecutive points by the home squad sent the lead back to Lyon, 10-8. The squads traded points to the tune of five ties when Dearien’s kill forced a 19-all score. Lyon would then pull ahead by a slim 22-20 score, but a timely 5-1 run by the Golden Eagles was enough to claim a 25-23 second set victory. Four Lyon errors and another Bakke termination results in the set-capturing rally.
Down 8-4 in the third set, consecutive kills from Bakke and Blasingame jump-started the JBU offense, as did four Lyon errors. Climbing back to knot the score at 10 apiece, John Brown found itself in a pair of three-point deficits at 14-11 and 18-15. A pair of Bakke kills helped the Golden Eagles keep pace and finally a Daniels ace pulled the visitors into a 20-20 tie. Even at 21, Bakke came up again with a huge kill from Daniels that sparked a 3-0 run. With Bakke serving, Pugh and Hunnicutt threw down timely kills before Dearien’s termination finished the match with a 25-22 third-set tally.
John Brown hit .220 percent on the evening (38-16-100) but, more impressively, limited Lyon to a mere .109 attack percentage (37-26-101). Senior Becca Young led the visitors with nine digs.
“Anytime you can pick up a win in three sets, you've done something right,” Carver added. “We're definitely looking forward to finally being home on our home court and playing in front of our fans.”
The Golden Eagles will return to the court on Saturday (Sept. 13) to host a tri-match at Bill George Arena. John Brown will face Ozarks (Ark.), which is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 Poll, and Wiley (Texas). JBU will begin the day at 9 a.m. against the Bobcats before taking on the Wildcats, for the third time this season, at 2 p.m.