Volleyball Looks to Jump Over .500 at Baker Tournament
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 6, 2013) -- The Golden Eagle volleyball squad will attempt to even its record for the second time this season when it travels to Baldwin City, Kan., to participate in the Baker (Kan.) tournament this weekend (Sept. 6-7).
The tournament marks JBU's second straight. The Golden Eagles went 1-3 last weekend at the Bellevue (Kan.) tournament, losing three straight to Doane (Neb.), Dordt (Iowa) and Briar Cliff (Iowa) before bouncing back to defeat William Woods (Mo.) to close the tournament with a victory.
At 11:00 a.m., John Brown will take on host Baker, which enters the day with a 5-3 record. The Wildcats have picked up two key victories on the young season, including a 3-1 win over Doane (Aug. 23) and a sweep of Briar Cliff (Aug. 31).
The Wildcats are led by middle hitters Danielle French and Shannon McCarty who, combined, average over five kills per game. On the back line, Renata Dill paces the defense, chipping in with a season total of 113 digs, averaging just under 4.5 per game. Dill also paces the passing game for Baker, landing a team-high 68 assists.
Baker features a tall middle portion of its lineup as the Wildcats are ranked No. 17 in the nation in blocks per game (2.430), led by French's eight solo blocks. As a team, BU has posted 65.5 blocks.
Graceland boasts an impressive 7-1 record heading into Friday, set to face the Golden Eagles at 3:00 p.m. The Yellowjackets went a perfect 4-0 last weekend, defeating William Penn (Iowa) and a trio of NCAA III institutions. GU didn't drop a set either day, sweeping all four matches.
Graceland's offensive charge is led by Monique LaForce and Natalia Robles, averaging 2.50 and 2.95 kills per game, respectively. LaForce landed a season-high 16 kills in a 3-1 victory over Mount Mercy (Iowa) on Aug. 24. Defensively, Graceland is powered by Denis Atualevao who averages 5.29 digs per set on the back line. She also is the catalyst for the GU passing attack, landing 121 assists this season.
Graceland's strength lies in its service abilities as the Yellowjackets average 3.460 aces per game, ranked No. 4 in the nation. Also falling in the top-5, GU lands at No. 3 in total service aces (90).