Daniels’ 10 Aces, Triple-Double, Leads Golden Eagles in Upset of Wayland Baptist

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 26, 2014) -- The Golden Eagles (12-5, 3-1 SAC) picked up its first victory of the season over a ranked team behind the effort of sophomore setter Shayna Daniels’ 10 aces as John Brown upset No. 22 Wayland Baptist (Texas) tonight at Bill George Arena, 3-1 (25-16, 25-12, 17-25, 26-24).

The Pioneers (8-8, 2-2 SAC) entered the match having won all six previous matchups with JBU in straight-sets fashion.

“Tonight was a big win for our program against a very good Wayland Baptist squad,” said head coach Ken Carver. “In the first two sets tonight, our team came out and executed our game plan we have been working on the past two days almost to perfection. It wasn’t just one area that was working well, but all of the facets we had been stressing in practice.”

JBU captured a 25-16 first-set victory in which it held the lead for the majority of the stanza. Facing an early deficit in the second set, the Golden Eagles came back in force, knocking off the Pioneers by a 25-12 score, Wayland’s second-lowest total in a set all season, behind the 11 scored against No. 7 Columbia (Mo.). WBU held a narrow 5-2 lead before John Brown rattled off seven-straight points to take control. The Pioneers still were within striking distance trailing 15-10, but the Golden Eagles, taking advantage of every WBU miscue, scored 10 of the next 12 points to earn a 25-12 win and a 2-0 advantage in the match.

“As good as the first two sets were, the third set illustrated we are still learning how to finish matches,” added Carver. “To Wayland’s credit, they made some adjustments as to where their middles were attacking and we didn’t respond quickly or consistent enough to counter. I felt we pressed a little too much and made too many attacking errors because we were playing not to lose instead of with the aggressiveness we had in the first two sets.”

Baptist easily captured the third set, 25-17, after taking an early 7-1 lead.

The Pioneers enjoyed another lead in the fourth set and even pushed John Brown to set point, 24-17, but the Golden Eagles had different plans. JBU fought off seven-consecutive set points to tie it at 24 apiece, mostly on the heels of the sharp serving of Daniels. A pair of Wayland Baptist timeouts couldn’t stop the John Brown momentum, and with a 25-24 lead, junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke ended it with a well-placed kill that found the back corner.

“We kept working but really battled that mentality of playing not to lose until our second time out in the fourth set when we were down and seemingly headed for a fifth set,” Carver noted. “I challenged our team to refocus and to be the more aggressive team because I felt Wayland had begun to coast a little bit thinking they had a comfortable lead and were going to force a fifth set. I told them I didn’t care if we went into a fifth set, I wanted us to be the more aggressive, harder-working team on the court and encouraged them to believe that the first two sets were not a fluke.

“We pushed a big run of points behind Shayna’s big, booming jump serves that were getting aces for us or keeping them from being in-system. That allowed us a fighting chance and that’s all this team needs. We may still be a bit inconsistent at times, but we continue to fight and battle.”

Daniels finished with her third-career triple-double, recording a team-high 27 assists and 10 digs in addition to her 10 aces. Junior outside hitters Audrey Dearien and Tiffany Hunnicutt led John Brown with 13 kills apiece, while Dearien wrapped up the double-double with 10 digs to accompany three aces. Bakke also ended in double-digit kills (10) in the victory.

Baptist out-hit the hosts, .347-.277, but the strength of 15 aces from JBU proved to be the difference. Shahala Hawkins posted a match-high 17 kills for WBU while Chelsey Driskill chipped in with 16. Ashlyn Westerman tallied a match-high 35 helpers in the losing effort.

“There are still a lot of conference games to be played and it is still very early in the conference portion of our season,” said Carver. “This win, while big in the fact we beat a nationally-ranked team, is still just one win. We will all enjoy the victory, but come next week, we have two more conference matches to play. We will need to stay focused and look to continue to improve, stay humble and hungry and look to get our next win moving us closer to a postseason berth.”

JBU will return to the court on Tuesday (Sept. 30) when it hosts St. Gregory’s (Okla.) at Bill George Arena. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.

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