Golden Eagles Edge Past Ozarks, Run Past Wiley in Trimatch
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 13, 2014) -- In its 2014 home opener, the Golden Eagles (9-4) used 24 kills from junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien and 51 assists from sophomore setter Shayna Daniels to take down Ozarks (Mo.), 3-1, before sweeping past Wiley (Texas), 3-0, this afternoon at Bill George Arena.
“It was great to come out in front of our home fans and family members and get two more wins on the season,” said head coach Ken Carver. “Going 2-0 today was a good way to put an exclamation point on the biggest portion of our non-conference schedule. The win against College of the Ozarks was quality since they were receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll and are currently the top-ranked team in their conference. This was our first win against a team in that position after falling a bit short on the scoreboard with the other opportunities against teams like that.
“Wiley was a much improved team since we last saw them. They were able to add a 6-4 middle into the mix whom we hadn’t faced in our previous two encounters with them and they moved a couple of other people around that allowed them to be a bit more efficient offensively. The second set, I felt, illustrated what we are capable of as a team with regards to our offensive efficiency, tempo of play and the ability to control the match.”
John Brown’s first set against the Bobcats (3-7) saw seven ties throughout the game. Facing a 23-21 deficit, the Golden Eagles used a pair of Molly Pugh terminations and a pair of Bobcats errors to end the set on a 4-0 run. The second set featured an 8-0 run right out of the gates for the visitors before a service ace finally ended the rally. Facing a 12-4 deficit, JBU used a litany of C of O errors to climb back within three, 16-13. A quick 4-0 run by the Bobcats ended any home of a comeback as the hosts fell in set two, 25-19.
The Golden Eagles held a slim 6-5 lead in set three before Dearien and Melissa Bakke combined for five kills, sending JBU on a 9-3 run. With a 15-9 lead in hand, Bakke’s kill made the score 18-14 and another Dearien throw down from Daniels kept the hosts with a slim lead, 21-18. Pugh’s service ace and two Bobcat errors were finally too much as Daniels ended the set with a kill, 25-20, moving John Brown one set away from victory.
Hitting at .385 percent in the fourth set, the Golden Eagles used its best offensive output for the final set. Three consecutive Dearien kills kept the score close until a trio of Bakke terminations gave JBU an 8-5 lead. With the score 10-8 in favor of John Brown, Bakke continued her domination in the fourth set, this time from the service line. Her services forced a Bobcat error before landing consecutive aces, sending the Golden Eagles on a 6-1 run. Up 16-10, the visitors could only come within four points, 20-16, until junior outside hitter Tiffany Hunnicutt took over. Between kills, Hunnicutt threw up a rejection, along with junior Libby Blasingame, before a C of O error ended the match, 25-17.
While the Golden Eagles (.202) and Bobcats (.200) nearly hit the same, JBU hit overwhelmingly better in sets one, three and four. Dearien posted a team-high 12 kills while Bakke chimed in with 11 of her own. Daniels’ 24 assists proved to be a match-high and John Brown served over 11 aces. Off the bench, Arnold and senior Becca Young led the Golden Eagles with 15 and 14 digs, respectively, as Hunnicutt managed one solo block and three helpers in the victory.
It was a bit of a different story against Wiley (5-11), a squad JBU had seen two times prior to this afternoon’s matchup. Daniels’ posted a season-high 27 assists and, combined with Arnold’s 13, the Golden Eagles assisted on each of its 42 kills, leading to a .300 attacking percentage (42-9-110). Dearien notched another double-digit kill performance, her seventh of the season, as JBU rolled past Wiley 25-21, 25-12, 25-23.
Dearien’s second kill of the fourth set broke a 14-all tie, the fourth of the game, allowing JBU to take the lead for the first time, an advantage it wouldn’t relinquish. A 7-2 Golden Eagle run, fueled by multiple Wildcat errors, handed John Brown a 21-16 lead. Wiley would climb back to within two, however, 23-21, until Hunnicutt and Blasingame combined for set-clinching back-to-back kills.
The second set was all John Brown as the hosts raced out to a 10-2 lead, courtesy of kills from Dearien, Hunnicutt and Pugh. While Bakke was serving at 3-1, JBU rolled to a 5-0 run, padding its lead. Wiley would only close in on a 16-10 score until Pugh, Blasingame, Hunnicutt and Dearien each provided kills en route to a 6-0 rally. Blasingame’s termination from Daniels ended a short second set, where JBU out-hit the visitors .483 percent to .040 percent.
Knotted at three apiece in the third set, a pair of Hunnicutt kills sent John Brown on a 6-1 run which was capped off by another Dearien throw down. This time, Wiley would begin to claw back to the tune of an 8-1 run, taking a 12-10 lead. The visitors held the lead until Dearien and Hunnicutt turned in back-to-back kills, breaking a 16-16 deadlock. Again tied at 21, Bakke returned the lead to the Golden Eagles and two Wildcat errors forced a 24-23 JBU lead. In unusual fashion, Dearien sent the ball over to Bakke, who ended the match forcefully with her final kill of the afternoon.
“The ladies on this team are resilient and have a warrior’s heart,” added Carver. “We may give up a run here or there and even drop a set or two, but they never give up and they continue to battle. Having that attitude and living it out on the court will allow us to be in a good position to do a lot of successful things.
“I’m very pleased at where we are at after 13 matches on the season. That being said, the real work begins in earnest next week when we open up conference play. The confidence and momentum we’ve gained by the success we’ve had as well as some adversity we’ve had to face as well has allowed our team to really get a good grasp of who we are and what we are potentially capable of. So, I’m excited moving forward and look forward towards the conference portion of the season and seeing how our team continues to improve and rise to the challenge of our opponents.”