SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 30, 2014) -- After breaking a six-match losing streak to Wayland Baptist (Texas) with a 3-1 victory over the 22nd-ranked Pioneers on Friday evening, the Golden Eagles (12-5, 3-1 SAC) will look to avoid a letdown when St. Gregory's (Okla.) visits Bill George Arena for a conference matchup today at 7 p.m.
John Brown picked up its first victory of the season over a ranked team behind the effort of sophomore setter Shayna Daniels’ 10 aces as JBU upset No. 22 Wayland Baptist on Friday (Sept. 26) night 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.
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.
The Cavaliers (5-12, 1-3 SAC) enter tonight’s contest having lost four matches in a row, the latest of which came on Sept. 27, a 3-0 loss to No. 22 Wayland Baptist in Shawnee, Okla., a day after the Golden Eagles knocked off the Pioneers at Bill George Arena. East Central (Okla.), Texas Wesleyan and Langston (Okla.) also account for SGU’s other losses during the stretch. St. Gregory’s absorbed sweeps in three of the four contests.
Cierra Mullins paces the Cavalier offense with 131 kills, the only player to reach the 100-kill plateau. She is attacking at a .121 percent pace on the season, also a team-best.
The visitor’s offense runs through Maggie Lasater, who has posted 371 assists on the season, fifth-most in the Sooner Athletic Conference. Four Cavaliers have over 100 digs on their record, led by Daniella Rivera’s 240. SGU hasn’t been successful on the block this season, having notched just 16 solo blocks, led by Tiphani Funk’s five.
Live video and stats will be available for tonight's game, courtesy of JBUathletics.com. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.