Volleyball Faces Tall Task in Conference Opener Against Oklahoma Baptist
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 19, 2013) -- The Golden Eagle volleyball squad will hit the court tonight in Shawnee, Okla., facing its most difficult task to date in a tilt with No. 10 Oklahoma Baptist at 5:30 p.m.
John Brown (5-11) hasn't had the non-conference success it experienced just a year ago, earning a 16-3 mark before it progressed into SAC play. However, the squad has battled in numerous difficult matches already, including five-set thrillers with Kansas Wesleyan, Ozarks (Mo.) and Graceland (Iowa) which will prepare them for a difficult slate of conference matches.
The Bison (9-3) enter the match after landing the final spot in the NAIA's top-10 listing which was released on Tuesday (Sept. 17). OBU's three losses have all come against top-25 teams, including five-set losses to Madonna (Mich.) and Northwestern (Iowa) while also dropping a 3-1 decision to MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.).
Oklahoma Baptist finds itself ranked in numerous categories this season, highlighting the team's ability to beat opponents in multiple ways. The Bison are ranked No. 18 in blocks per game (2.29), No. 20 in digs per game (17.57) and No. 28 in both kills per game (12.93) and assists per game (11.64).
Senior Kristin Pressley is the Bison's main attacker, landing 160 kills in 36 games played (4.44 average), which has earned the outside hitter a No. 4 ranking individually in kills per game. Pressley finds a way to attack efficiently, only faulting 39 times, bringing her total attack to error ration to .320 percent.
The Bison offense runs two passers, Aysegul Guney and Rachel Aguilar. Guney leads OBU with 232 assists while teammate Aguilar has also posts a stellar 189 helpers. OBU features a pair of defenders in the back row with over 150 digs apiece in Pressley and Valerie Stetzer. Pressley has notched 164 scoops this season while Stetzer leads the Bison with 166 digs.
The Golden Eagle attack is three-fold, led by 2012 Sooner Athletic Conference first-teamer Audrey Dearien's 159 kills. Sophomore Melissa Bakke has chipped in 113 kills while 2012 second team All-SAC honoree Erin McIlroy has emerged as JBU's most efficient hitter, killing 137 attempts at a .309 percent rate.
A pair of SAC Honorable Mentions from last season guard the backcourt for John Brown as senior Staci Williamson paces JBU in digs (249) while senior Kailey Bain's 104 digs ranks her third on the Golden Eagles. Dearien has also played well defensively, posting 145 digs, second only to Williamson. Freshman Shayna Daniels has made an immediate impact so far in running the John Brown offense, as the Magnolia, Texas, native has dished out 294 assists. Bain also figures into the passing game for JBU, notching 280 helpers.
The Golden Eagles have also reaped returns from another freshman's performance in 2013 as Molli Pugh leads all John Brown blockers with 10 solo blocks. Her 36 helpers are second only to McIlroy's 41 on the 2013 season.
The match marks as the SAC opener for both squads. Live video will be offered by Oklahoma Baptist as the first serve is slated for 5:30 p.m.