Wildcats Too Much Again, Crimson Storm No Problem for Golden Eagles
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 15, 2012) — In the final day of the inaugural John Brown University Invitational, the Golden Eagles suffered a 3-1 (25-15, 22-25, 23-25, 23-25) defeat to Wiley (Texas) before taking down NCAA II-bound Southern Nazarene (Okla.), 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 8-25, 25-16).
With the loss to Wiley, JBU suffers its first defeat at Bill George Arena in the 2012 campaign.
John Brown started the match strong, posting a 10-point advantage over the Wildcats in the first set. Wiley would rebound in a big way, however, sweeping the final three games to take the match against John Brown.
Audrey Dearien handed in an outstanding performance, eclipsing the 20-kill plateau for an incredible fifth time in her freshman season. As a result of her efforts, Dearien now leads the nation in kills with 274 through 19 games.
Senior Erin Didier netted 19 kills and 10 digs while hitting an astounding .459 percent. Erin McIlroy chipped in with seven kills and Libby Blasingame added six.
Kailey Bain controlled the passing game with 24 assists. Becca Young played well defensively, finishing with 13 digs, tied for a match-high.
"We played (Wiley) very tight tonight," said head coach Stacie Johnson, noting JBU's three set losses came by a combined seven points. "They were very aggressive in their offense and we just tried to find ours. Sometimes it went well, other times we struggled.
"Wiley's style of play is unconventional and they swing every chance they get. Their power intimidated us at points. When we're in that situation, we need to play better defense."
Wiley has now handed JBU two of its three losses on the season.
With a few hours of rest under its belt, John Brown returned to the court later in the day to take on former Sooner Athletic Conference opponent, Southern Nazarene to close out the tournament.
JBU quickly jumped out to an early 18-10 lead in the first set before the Crimson Storm came roaring back to make it a 19-17 score. Back-to-back kills by Courtney Marshall and McIlroy gave the Golden Eagles a four-point cushion that it wouldn't relinquish as the host squad took game one, 25-21.
In exactly the same situation in game two, John Brown held the 18-10 advantage. This time, however, the Golden Eagles seemed to learn from their previous mistakes. Didier's three kills helped close out SNU, 25-16.
After dropping the third set in convincing fashion, JBU rebounded in the fourth game to earn the match victory. Four McIlroy kills sent John Brown into the win column for an impressive 16th time this season in 19 tries.
"We were determined not to let anything hit the floor tonight," Didier said of JBU's defensive effort which limited Southern Nazarene to .124 attack percentage. "It all starts with our blocking game. The ladies did a great job setting them, allowing us to read their attack. It's always a relentless pursuit for this squad.
"We need to constantly make sure we're taking care of our own assignments while working within a team game. Communication and encouragement are vital to our success."
The Golden Eagles (16-3) will now open conference play in Lubbock, Texas, next Friday (Sept. 21). The game against the Chaparrals will include a non-conference match against Lady of the Lakes (Texas) later in the afternoon. JBU will finish the road trip on Saturday when it faces Wayland Baptist (Texas) at 11:00 a.m.