SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (October 15, 2014) -- John Brown (14-7, 5-3 SAC) returns to the court this evening for a 7 p.m. matchup with Oklahoma City (14-9, 6-3 SAC) as the two squads battle for positioning in the middle of the conference standings.
Coming off a difficult 3-0 loss at Southwestern A.G. (Texas), the Golden Eagles rebounded behind a career night from junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien to outlast Texas Wesleyan (9-14, 5-3 SAC), 3-2 (25-15, 20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-9) on Saturday (Oct. 11) at the Sid Richardson Center.
Dearien’s 28 kills not only finished as a match high, but also marked a career-best. She finished off the double-double with 21 digs, her second-highest count this season. Sophomore middle hitter Molli Pugh contributed a season-high 14 terminations a seven block assists while junior outside hitter Tiffany Hunnicutt landed seven kills and six block assists in the win.
The Golden Eagle passing game was sharp, witnessed by 59 assists on 65 kills. Sophomore setter Shayna Daniels threw around a career-high 35 assists while her counterpart, freshman setter Alyssa Arnold, also set a career-high, this time with 24 more helpers.
Dearien took over in the final stanza with seven of her 28 terminations. The Golden Eagles took a 4-1 lead when Dearien, Melissa Bakke and Hunnicutt combined for a trio of kills. JBU would never relinquish the lead as the margin grew to 8-3 after a Blasingame kill. After trading six points, Wesleyan came within three, 11-8, due to a pair of John Brown miscues. Timely as ever, Dearien seized control of the match and recorded three of JBU’s final four points, allowing the visitors to grab a well-earned 3-2 victory.
“After last night’s sub-par performance, by our own standards, it was good to come right back and get a good win against a very scrappy TWU team,” head coach Ken Carver said after the victory. “Our focus was much better today and we played with much more determination, resiliency and confidence. It was good for us to be challenged today to reaffirm to ourselves what we’re capable of doing if our minds are in the right place. Our serve receive was much better than last night, which allowed Shayna and Alyssa much more freedom to run more of our playbook.
"Audrey had a monster game offensively as did Molli in the middle. I was really pleased with our block today, especially for Bailei Brown who came in off the bench and helped to get some really big blocks against TWU’s outside hitters. It was a real evenly played match and I’m proud of the way the team held its composure and then totally took control of the 5th set from the start and closed out the match on a strong note.”
The victory keeps the Golden Eagles in contention for a top-round seeding in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament. Currently, John Brown’s 5-3 league record is in the middle of a four-way tie for third place in the conference.
The Stars enter tonight’s match having split its last six contests, posting a 3-3 record, including a split on the road at Southwestern A.G. (Texas) and Texas Wesleyan. OCU fell at Texas Wesleyan, 3-1, but rebounded on Saturday (Oct. 11) for a 3-0 win against the Lions.
In that match, Meghan Irwin and Kristen Macy supplied the Stars with 14 kills each. Irwin added nine digs and two blocks, while Macy had 10 digs and two aces for Oklahoma City. Hannah Mitcham amassed 36 assists, eight digs and three kills, and Kelley Shiels produced 11 digs and two aces in the win.
Macy paces the squad with 289 kills, which is 29th-best in the nation. Irwin’s 244 terminations are good enough for second-best on the squad. City runs a pair of setters in Mitcham and Taylor Chase. Mitcham has earned 322 helpers while her counterpart has posted 398 so far this season.
Macy has collected the most amount of digs (296), followed by Shiels (250) and Tori Lesiure (204).