Oklahoma City Steals Second Set, Match Victory in 3-1 Decision over JBU

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 20, 2014) -- The John Brown University volleyball team (10-5, 1-1 SAC) had its four-match win streak snapped in a 3-1 loss at Oklahoma City (9-3, 2-0 SAC) tonight at Abe Lemons Arena, falling by scores of 21-25, 25-27, 25-19, 17-25.

The Golden Eagles were held below a .200 hitting percentage in three of the four games, including a .024 percent in the first set and a .034 percent in the final. City wasn’t able to post much better, earning a .000 percent in the third-set John Brown victory, but only needing .176 and .125 percent, in the first and fourth sets, respectively, to notch the win. The Stars narrowly out-hit JBU in match, .156 to .148 percent.

Three ties kept the teams close in the first set, but with a 10-9 lead, OCU padded its margin with a 11-4 run. A service error briefly disrupted the lopsided first set until City managed to earn a chance at claiming the set, 24-16. The Golden Eagles responded by with a 5-0 run, fueled by a pair of Audrey Dearien kills. However, an attack error by Dearien solidified the first set in favor of the Stars.

The second set featured another four ties early on until John Brown nabbed its first lead at 12-11. Back-to-back kills from junior outside hitter Tiffany Hunnicutt and sophomore middle hitter Molli Pugh pushed the lead to three, 14-11. City responded with a 10-7 run, knotting the score at 21 apiece. Tied at 24, OCU committed an attacking error, but closed the game again with a kill from Meghan Irwin. City’s Tori Leisure then earned a service aces before a ball handling error completed the Stars’ comeback bid.

Knotted at 7-7 in the third set, sophomore setter Shayna Daniels’ kill jump-started the John Brown offense to a 7-2 run. The Golden Eagles maintained its lead through the entirety of the set, including a timely kill from Daniels that held off City and built a 22-19 JBU lead. Daniels then finished the set off with an assist and a game-clinching service ace.

City built a 10-6 lead in the final set that ballooned to an eight-point deficit for the visitors, 18-10. JBU could only get to within seven a trio of times before the Stars managed to close out the set with relative ease.

Dearien led John Brown with 12 kills and added nine digs in the loss. Hunnicutt, Daniels and junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke each contributed eight terminations. Daniels completed the double-double by posting a team-high 26 assists. Senior defensive specialist Becca Young added a match-best 23 digs. Kristen Macy paced OCU with a match-high 14 kills on 43 attempts and dug 15 balls in the win. Taylor Chase passed out a match-high 26 assists.

City used 12.5 blocks that helped lead to 26 JBU attack errors. The Golden Eagles managed only 7.0 rejections, led by four block-assists from Hunnicutt and junior middle hitter Libby Blasingame.

“Our match with OCU was our first opportunity to measure where we were at with one of the top three teams in the preseason poll,” said head coach Ken Carver. “We knew coming into the match that we would have to play a pretty consistent game throughout in order to stay with the team. I felt we served aggressively, but had a few too many errors from the service line for my liking. Games against good teams like OCU can come down to a few points here and there and that was the case today. OCU did a better job of us from the service line and in the serve receive game and that was one of the biggest differences in the match.

“I am proud, however, of our team’s efforts and ability to regroup and refocus in coming out after the intermission and taking the third set and being in control of that set for most of its entirety.While the result was in the loss column for us this afternoon, I am pleased with our efforts and feel good about where we are and how we matched up against one of the better teams in our conference.”

John Brown continues its season with a third-consecutive game on the road on Tuesday (Sept. 23) at Southwestern Christian (Okla.). First service is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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