Golden Eagles Finish 4-0 Week with Sweep of SAGU, Clinch Fourth Place in Tournament

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (November 8, 2014) -- In a week that featured two non-conference contests and a pair of important conference matches, the Golden Eagles (22-10, 10-6 SAC) will enter the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament with the No. 4 seed after John Brown completed a 4-0 week after sweeping past Southwestern A.G. (Texas), 25-23, 25-19, 25-20, this afternoon inside Bill George Arena.

To avoid triggering tiebreakers, JBU needed to post convincing victories over Texas Wesleyan on Friday (Nov. 7) and the Lions this afternoon. The Blue and Gold did just that, sweeping past both opponents and returning the straight-sets win SAGU handed the Golden Eagles back on Oct. 10 in Waxahachie, Texas.

“I am really proud of the way our team played today, as well as how they did this final week of the season,” said head coach Ken Carver. “To go 4-0 in the final week and to win the final two conference matches of the season in 3-0 fashion speaks to their focus, intensity and performance.

“On a day when we honored five of our graduating players, our final home match of the season and the weight of attempting to win in order to finish as the fourth seed, there was a lot that could have been distracting to our team. I am really pleased at how they were able to be present in the moment and enjoy the opportunity to honor our senior players and then flip the switch and go out and play a good match and send our senior players out on a winning note.”

Sophomore setter Shayna Daniels narrowly missed out on a double-double by recording a team-leading 20 assists and scooping up nine digs while serving up a match-best five aces. Junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien terminated a match-high 12 balls and also added four service aces in the win. A trio of Golden Eagles contributed six kills each in junior outside hitter Tiffany Hunnicutt, junior middle hitter Libby Blasingame and senior outside hitter Vanessa Uhrhahn.

JBU posted a .172 attack percentage on the afternoon (41-18-134) but, more importantly, left the visiting Lions in an offensive disarray that featured a mere .148 hitting percentage (30-13-115). In the first and third sets, John Brown limited to SAGU to a .089 and .057 percent on attack, respectively.

Senior defensive specialist Becca Young posted a game-high 21 digs while Hunnicutt and junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke each threw up a solo block in the win.

“SAGU is a very scrappy team defensively and keeps so many balls in play,” added Carver. They have the ability to earn points against teams just by staying in the rally long enough and not giving up. I felt we did a good job of matching their defensive tenacity and fought hard to win long rallies and make adjustments as needed. This week’s performance should provide us with some momentum and confidence heading into the conference tournament. We’re playing some good volleyball right now and this is just the time of year we need to be doing it. We’ll look to get a couple of good practice days in next week and prepare for our first round opponent and see where things go from there.”

Four players earned double-digit digs for the Lions (15-15, 8-8 SAC), but no player was able to post more than six kills in the loss. Mollie McBride, Hannah Lewis and McKenzie Criddle each added six terminations, but 13 attack errors and only 30 kills left SAGU unable to capture a single set in the match.

The Golden Eagles will now wait for the Sooner Athletic Conference to release the schedule for the conference tournament, which will be held at Wayland Baptist (Texas), by virtue of winning the league’s regular season, from Nov. 13-15 in Plainview, Texas.

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