SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 13, 2014) -- For the first time this season, the Golden Eagles (7-4) will set foot on the John Sheehy Court at Bill George Arena and will take on Ozarks (Mo.) and Wiley (Texas) in a tri-match affair this morning.
On Tuesday (Sept. 9), junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke earned a match-high 10 kills and helped John Brown 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.) 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.
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).
College of the Ozarks, currently receiving votes in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 Poll, enter today’s games having split in its last four outings. Wins over Tabor (Kan.) and Missouri Valley were short-lived after suffering defeats to Central Methodist (Mo.) and NCAA II Drury (Mo.).
Jamie Reaves leads the Bobcats with 99 kills on the season and averages 2.75 terminations per set. Jenny Wuerffel trails slightly behind with 93 kills. The duo comprise 45.3 percent of Ozarks’ offense on the year. Lindsay Boone (191 assists) and Sarah Kruel (169 assists) charge the Bobcat offense while Brandi Stahl anchors the defense with 138 digs on the season.
Wiley has also gone 2-2 in last four outings, earning victories over Southern (La.) and NCAA I Grambling State (La.) while suffering losses to Concordia (Texas) and Xavier (La.).
Fatima Dacosta paces the Wildcat attack with 155 kills and ranks No. 20 in the nation in total kills. Her 3.52 kills per set also ranks her 31st, nationally. Lujien Sallam’s 212 helpers easily leads all Wildcats players while Dacosta also is first on her squad in digs (171) followed by Diana Castaneda (140).
Live video and stats, courtesy of JBUathletics.com, will be available for all three matches. JBU will face Ozarks at 9 a.m. and will then bout with Wiley at 2 p.m.