SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (November 8, 2014) -- In its last regular season match of the 2014 campaign, the Golden Eagles (21-10, 9-6 SAC) will look to grab the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Sooner Athletic Conference tournament next week when it hosts Southwestern A.G. (Texas) today at noon inside Bill George Arena.
Last night, unlike the two squads’ first matchup back on Oct. 11 that featured a five-set thriller, John Brown pieced together its 12th sweep of the season by dispatching Texas Wesleyan (13-18, 9-6 SAC) in straight sets (25-14, 25-21, 25-23).
The victory places the two teams in a tie for the fourth seed in next week’s Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, to be held at Wayland Baptist (Texas). Wesleyan finishes its season today at Oklahoma City while John Brown hosts Southwestern A.G. (Texas) at noon.
“I like the way our team came out tonight and picked up right where they left off this past Tuesday,” said head coach Ken Carver. “Tonight’s match against Texas Wesleyan, as well as tomorrow’s match against SAGU, goes a long way in determining the middle seeds in the tournament. While all of us are aware of that, we really have been talking with the team about living in the moment and playing their best in the moment and stringing enough of those moments together that goods things ultimately will happen.
“I felt we were relaxed on the court, yet were very focused in what we wanted and needed to do. Our aggressiveness from the service line really helped our team out tonight. While we had a stretch during the second set where we missed more serves than I would have wanted, our team did a good job of hitting their zones and serving at players we needed to. Texas Wesleyan is a very capable team in terms of their offensive production and efficiency between their outside and middle hitters as well as one of their opposite hitters and can give teams a lot of problems when they get rolling. One of the main components of our game plan tonight was to not give them the opportunity to do that. The other area that Texas Wesleyan hurt us a lot last time was short tipped balls that we left drop to the floor. A few of those still made it to the floor tonight, but I felt we did a much better job of recognizing when a tip or off-speed shot was coming and then responding accordingly.”
That defense held the visiting Rams to a .067 and .103 attack percentages in the first and second sets, respectively. TWU managed just 29 kills on the evening, but committed 12 attack errors, leaving the visitors with an overall .128 percent on attack. John Brown, meanwhile, hit at a .212 percent (44-15-137) and scooped up 77 digs in the win. Senior defensive specialist Becca Young posted a team-high 17 digs while junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien grabbed 16. Sophomore setter Shayna Daniels notched 12 digs while junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke contributed 10.
John Brown received more than five kills from six different players as Bakke completed the double-double with a team-leading 10 terminations. Senior outside hitter Vanessa Uhrhahn found double-digit kills for the first time this season with 10, and Daniels pieced together her double-double by adding a match-high 20 assists to her dig output. Junior outside hitter Tiffany Hunnicutt chipped in nine kills and two block-assists while Dearien added six more terminations in the win.
The Golden Eagles will be looking to levy some payback this afternoon as SAGU won the previous matchup this season in sweeping fashion (11-25, 21-25, 18-25) in Waxahachie, Texas, on Oct. 10. Southwestern A.G. (15-14, 8-7 SAC) last took the court on Tuesday (Nov. 4) when it fell in a 3-1 contest at Oklahoma Baptist. Prior the that, SAGU enjoyed back-to-back sweeps over Mid-America Christian (Okla.) and St. Gregory’s (Okla.).
Faith Hardin fuels the Lion offense with 269 kills while Mollie McBride has also contributed 218 terminations so far this season. SAGU plays strong defense, which is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation in digs per set (18.77), led by Emmalee Smith’s 483 scoops. The visitors boast five players that have accumulated at least 200 digs in the 2014 campaign. Caitlin Paschall is the primary setter for the Lions as she has posted 747 assists this season, averaging 7.25 helpers per set.