Wayland Baptist grabs win away from Golden Eagles

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- Up 22-20 with a 2-0 lead, the John Brown University volleyball team allowed Wayland Baptist to finish the third set on a 5-1 rally and the Pioneers finished with consecutive set wins to capture a 3-2 (25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 20-25, 12-15) win on Wednesday (Oct. 12) evening inside Bill George Arena.

Freshman Carly McKinney and senior Molli Pugh each tallied a double-double, and freshman Jessica Meyer chimed in with eight kills and eight blocks, but the relentless Pioneer (17-8, 10-1 SAC) hit .253 percent over the final three sets and overcame substantial deficits in the final two stanzas to send JBU (14-10, 5-6) to its fourth-consecutive loss.

Pugh posted 15 kills and 13 digs while McKinney added 12 terminations and 20 scoops to accompany four service aces. Sophomore Kennedy Shelstead chipped in with 10 kills and four blocks in the loss.

The loss drops John Brown temporarily into sixth place with just seven matches remaining on the season. The Golden Eagles are vying for a top-four finish in hopes of hosting a Sooner Athletic tournament quarterfinal match in Siloam Springs.

The Golden Eagles hit .207 percent through the first two sets, but more importantly limited Baptist to just .039 percent. On the match, the hosts out-hit the Pioneers, .167 percent (59-28-186) to .155 percent (55-27-181).

The turning point occurred in the third set when JBU had a healthy 16-11 lead, but Wayland stormed back on a 9-0 run to take a 20-16 advantage. The Golden Eagles would pull to within three, 23-20, but a JBU error followed by a WBU ace tied the match at two apiece.

Back-to-back terminations from Meyer and freshman Megan Beck was followed by a McKinney ace to build a 4-1 John Brown lead in the fifth. The visitors responded with a 4-1 run of its own, notching a 5-all draw. After the lead shifted twice, consecutive Baptist miscues again tied the match at 10.

Wayland captured three straight, but with a 13-10 score, JBU retaliated with a pair of kills from Beck and Meyer. With the match on the line, the Pioneers closed out the comeback with back-to-back terminations to complete the match.

The Golden Eagles will turn right back around on Thursday (Oct. 13) to host Southwestern Christian (Okla.) at Bill George Arena at 7 p.m.

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