GameDay: Volleyball vs Wayland Baptist

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 26, 2014) -- Rebounding from a loss at Oklahoma City with a win at Southwestern Christian (Okla.), the Golden Eagles (11-5, 2-1 SAC) return to the court tonight at Bill George Arena having won five of its last six matches and will take on No. 22 Wayland Baptist (Texas) at 7 p.m.

After a tough loss at Oklahoma City last Saturday (Sept. 20), junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien crushed eight kills in the third set en route to a 16-termination effort, leading the Golden Eagles (11-5, 2-1 SAC) to a 3-0 sweep over Southwestern Christian (Okla.) on Tuesday (Sept. 23) night at Pickens-Springer Gymnasium.

The 25-20, 25-12, 25-18, sweep marked the seventh time John Brown has earned a straight-sets victory this season.

Dearien’s match-high 16 kills came at the cost of zero errors, finishing with a single-game career-high .615 hitting percentage, and added four service aces. Sophomore Shayna Daniels and freshman Alyssa Arnold split time running the JBU offense as Daniels collected a match-high 16 assists while Arnold chipped in with 12. Senior defensive specialist Becca Young earned her 10th double-digit dig effort of the season, ending the tilt with a match-high 12.

John Brown used five Dearien kills in the first set to capture a 25-20 victory, holding SCU to a mere .000 hitting percentage while boasting a .364 percentage of its own. Juniors Libby Blasingame and Melissa Bakke each added a pair of terminations in the set while sophomore middle hitter Molli Pugh earned two of her own. After 11 ties kept both teams close, Blasingame’s first kill of the set from Arnold broke the deadlock for good, 19-18. Blasingame would add a second down the stretch as JBU used three errors by the host to close the set.

Junior Tiffany Hunnicutt used a four-termination second set to help John Brown pad its lead while Young landed eight of her 12 digs in the second stanza. Two Dearien kills and a trio of Eagle miscues bolstered the visitors’ lead to 11-4. Hunnicutt’s first kill of the set pushed the lead all the way to 10, 18-8, before adding three more to send the Golden Eagles to a 25-12 lopsided victory.

Dearien took over in the third set early and often. Three kills kept JBU in contention until she stepped behind the service line with the score at 10-9 in favor of Southwestern Christian. Three consecutive service aces returned the lead to JBU, 12-10, a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished. SCU continued its comeback bid at 16-15, but a 6-0 rally by John Brown that featured terminations from Dearien, Hunnicutt and a pair from Blasingame. For good measure, Dearien closed out the match with the final three Golden Eagle kills for a 25-18 win.

SCU’s -.071 hitting percentage marked the lowest attack efficiency John Brown has limited its opponent to this season. JBU also held advantages in kills (37-17), assists (32-15), aces (6-3) and blocks (5.0-4.0).

The Pioneers enter tonight’s contest having lost two of its three previous contests. In an upset, Southwestern A.G. (Texas) stole a 3-2 decision in Plainview on Sept. 19. A day later, WBU landed a 3-0 sweep of Texas Wesleyan at the Hutcherson Center.

The 22nd-ranked Pioneers are led offensively by Shahala Hawkins, who tops the nation in kills per set (5.62). Her 326 terminations, 2nd in the nation, is trailed by Chelsey Driskill, who has notched 186 so far this season.

The WBU offense runs through setter Ashlyn Westerman, who’s 589 assists is 20th-best in the nation and her 10.14 assists per set average places her at No. 19 nationally in that category. Mercades Torres and a trio of Pioneers have collected over 100 digs. Torres has landed a team-high 183 while Cat Wiechmann has tallied 127.

Hawkins, a dual-threat, is No. 11 nationally in total blocks (72) and No. 15 in blocks per set (1.240).

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