Volleyball Faces Host Baker and Graceland in Opening Day

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 5, 2014) -- After opening the season 2-1 at the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational, the Golden Eagles (5-1) have rattled off three-consecutive victories, including a pair of wins over Jarvis Christian (Texas) and Wiley (Texas) back on Aug. 26 to open the season.

In the first match of the day, John Brown took advantage of Jarvis Christian in its season opener, courtesy of 11 kills from junior Audrey Dearien, downing JCC, 3-0 (25-8, 25-17, 25-18). Freshman Alyssa Arnold passed out 13 assists and four aces while her counterpart, sophomore Shayna Daniels, collected 10 helpers and launched a career-high six service aces. Junior Melissa Bakke added six kills and junior Libby Blasingame added five terminations in the victory.

The Golden Eagles hit efficiently, at a .333 percent pace, and limited the Bulldogs to a negative .029 percentage, forcing JCC into a negative percentage in two of three sets. JBU converted 31 kills while only committing seven errors and set a team-high by sending over 16 service aces in the lopsided victory.

In the second game against the Wildcats, Bakke led the match with 11 kills while Dearien and junior Tiffany Hunnicutt added eight and seven terminations, respectively. JBU hit very well again, posting a .264 percentage while limiting Wiley to a mere .135 percent on the afternoon. Daniels notched 17 helpers and Arnold tossed out 14. For the third time in six matches, the Golden Eagles reached double-digit service aces (10). Dearien and senior Becca Young led John Brown in digs with 14 and 12 apiece.

The Golden Eagles neatly wrapped up another 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-20) victory.

John Brown currently ranks No. 6 in the nation in aces per set (2.650) and No. 15 in hitting percentage (.265). Daniels leads the way with 17 aces, placing her at No. 17 nationally while Bakke’s .381 attack percentage has her at No. 19 nationally.

Baker (Kan.) enters the day 4-4 on the season and has lost two of its last three contests. Setbacks to Northwestern (Iowa) and Dordt (Iowa) came between a victory over William Woods (Mo.) on Aug. 30.

The Wildcats are led on the attack by Hannah Bettge, who leads the squad with 61 kills. Teammate Shannon Bond is a close second with 58 and paces the team with a .288 hitting percentage. On the back line, Sara Slater far and away leads the Wildcats with 163 digs, averaging 5.82 per set (ranks No. 19 nationally). Bettge also runs the Baker passing game as she has thrown around a team-high 191 assists so far this season in eight matches.

Graceland (Iowa) starts play at the Wildcat Invitational boasting an 8-1 record. The Yellowjackets’ only setback came to Ashford (Iowa) on Aug. 23 and since then have rattled off six-straight wins, including York (Neb.) and Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.) on Aug. 30 and Sept. 2, respectively.

GU is paced up front by a trio of attackers, comprised of Natalia Robles, Allie Krabbenhoft and Kendra Martin. The three have accumulated 73, 68 and 63 kills, respectively. The Jackets rotate between a pair of setters, led by Kelsi Martin’s 200 assists, followed by Laurie James’ 121 helpers. Brittany Prescott’s 131 digs comprises 26 percent of the GU defense.

John Brown’s first match of the day is scheduled to be streamed online.

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