Golden Eagles Post 1-3 Weekend at Baker Tournament

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BALDWIN CITY, Kan. (September 6, 2014) -- After riding a three-match winning streak into this past weekend’s quartet of matches, the Golden Eagles (6-4) fell in three of four matches at the Baker (Kan.) Invitational.

“The competition was very good this weekend,” said head coach Ken Carver. “While we lost more matches than we won, we were generally very competitive against those quality teams. If we can improve on our consistency in a few areas, we’ll be just fine come the conference portion of our season.”

The first matchup of the weekend featured a tilt with host Baker, which was receiving votes in the latest NAIA Top-25 Coaches’ Poll.

The Golden Eagles struggled to get the offense going as the Wildcats posted 10 blocks and limited JBU to a .205 hitting percentage(38-13-122). Conversely, BU (5-4) was able to post a .449 attack efficiency (40-5-78) and hit over .400 in each set. John Brown fell in straight sets, 3-0 (19-25, 20-25, 16-25).

Junior Libby Blasingame, sophomore Molli Pugh and junior Tiffany Hunnicutt each notched a team-leading seven kills. Senior Vanessa Uhrhahn and junior Audrey Dearien each added six of their own. Setters Alyssa Arnold and Shayna Daniels each gathered 12 assists while senior Becca Young corralled 19 digs in the loss.

The second bout of the day featured a match with Graceland (Iowa), which sported an impressive 9-1 record entering the game. The Golden Eagles didn’t mind, however, playing closely in each set, despite absorbing a 3-1 (23-25, 22-25, 27-25, 19-25) loss.

John Brown managed to out-hit the Yellowjackets in the first two sets, but couldn’t score late victories. JBU posted a .178 hitting percentage (41-13-157) while GU was limited to .159 percent (46-23-145). This time, four players landed a team-best seven kills, including Dearien, Blasingame, Molli Pugh and Melissa Bakke. Uhrhahn and Hunnicutt added six apiece. Daniels (17) and Arnold (19) helped the Golden Eagles to 39 assists on 41 kills as Dearien (16), Daniels (11) and Arnold (10) each finished with double-digit digs.

Saturday’s first game against Doane (Neb.) went a thrilling five sets. After capturing the first two narrowly by two points each, the Golden Eagles had to deal with a resurgent Tiger squad (4-6) that nabbed the third and fourth set, forcing a pivotal fifth set. After falling behind early, JBU went on an 8-0 rally midway through the game, earning a fifth-set and match victory, 3-2 (26-24, 29-27, 21-25, 12-25, 15-13).

John Brown battled through a mere .122 hitting percentage (50-25-205) and was led by Dearien’s 16 kills. Bakke also landed in double-digit terminations with 11. The Tiger defense collected an impressive 133 digs in the five-set thriller, but JBU also had six players finish with double-digit digs, led by Young (20), Dearien (19) and Daniels (18). Arnold passed out a career-high 20 assists and a match-high four service aces while Daniels also posted 18 helpers in the win. Dearien’s three solo blocks helped the Golden Eagles finish with 10.5 rejections.

The final match featured a second Iowa program in as many days. Morningside (Iowa) held JBU to a .146 attack efficiency (28-8-137) and used a .443 hitting percentage (43-8-79) to claim a 3-0 decision (25-18, 25-22, 25-20).

Blasingame and Bakke paced the JBU offense with seven kills apiece while Young tallied a team-high 11 digs. Hunnicutt recorded four block-assists while Daniels earned eight helpers in the loss.

The Golden Eagles will now regroup and return to the court on Tuesday (Sept. 9). JBU will take on cross-state rivals Lyon at 7 p.m. in Bateville, Ark.

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