Oklahoma Baptist Overcomes Golden Eagles' Valiant Effort, 3-1

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (October 4, 2014) -- John Brown (13-6, 4-2 SAC) fought tooth and claw with No. 15 Oklahoma Baptist (16-6, 6-0 SAC) on Saturday morning at Bill George Arena, but eventually the Golden Eagles fell in four hard-fought sets, 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 24-26, 22-25).

The Golden Eagles came into Saturday’s Sooner Athletic Conference match having won seven of their last eight matches. The Bison, however, boasted 51 consecutive victories in conference play.

“Our match against OBU was one pitting two teams who are very similar to one another," admitted head coach Ken Carver. "I talked with our team ahead of time and said if both teams were playing at the level they are capable of then the scores of each set would be within four points or less. Obviously, I wasn’t too far off that prediction."

In the first set, the two teams would trade points for the first half of the set. The Bison would then go on a 8-3 run for a 18-12 lead, capped off by a Kaitlyn Lucy service ace. The Golden Eagles would get as close as five, at 20-15, on a Molli Pugh kill. The Golden Eagles would get no closer, however, as the Bison would outscore JBU for the remainder of the set 5-2 to win the first set, 25-18.

The second set started just like the first with both teams trading points back and forth between each other. In this set, however, the tide of the match switched the Golden Eagles’ way. John Brown went on a 7-4 run, making the score 16-12, capped by a Audrey Dearien kill. The largest lead for JBU in the set was seven, at 21-14, on a Lacey Herbert error. Baptist would trim the Golden Eagles’ lead all the way to one, at 22-21, after a Vanessa Uhrhahn error. The Golden Eagles would win the next three points of the set to win 25-21.

The third set started with Oklahoma Baptist going on a 4-0 run. From there, the Golden Eagles would claw their way back into the set. The set yielded four ties as the teams battled neck and neck. Late in the set, the Bison would go on a 5-0 run, making the score 23-20, capped by a Denise Coroiescu kill. As the Bison came back in the second set, so did the Golden Eagles in the third set. The Golden Eagles would tie the set at 24-24 on a Caydn Laing error. The Bison would score the next two points on kills by Kate Decker and Laing, grabbing a narrow 26-24 decision.

The fourth set started off with the Golden Eagles running out to a 4-1 lead after a Coroiescu error. The Bison would take the lead in the set for good with a 8-2 run, capped by a Laing kill. JBU would get as close as two on three occasions, the last coming at 24-22, on a Decker error. The Bison would win the next point on a Libby Blasingame error and captured the fourth set 25-22 to earn its 52nd-consecutive conference match, 3-1.

For John Brown, Dearien had a match-high 17 kills and for Oklahoma Baptist, Laing had 15 kills. Shayna Daniels had 22 while OBU's Ezgi Guney had a match-high 36 helpers. Vanessa Uhrhahn and Tiffany Hunnicutt had both seven kills for the Golden Eagles. Molli Pugh paced the John Brown offense with a .308 hitting percentage, but the Bison earned the overall margin in attacking percentage, .232-.185.

"I was pleased to see Vanessa Uhrhahn have a quality outing against a tough opponent," Carver added. "She’s been working hard for us as a utility player in practice and I feel is starting to get comfortable at the right side hitter position. Molli Pugh also had a good match on both sides of the ball. She led our team in attack efficiency at .308 and averaged 1.0 blocks per set on the match as well."

For the match, John Brown had a .185 hitting percentage with the best hitting percentage coming in the first set with a .219 percentage while Oklahoma Baptist had a .232 percentage with the best set also coming in the first set with a .344.

"I’m proud of our team’s effort and ability to not get rattled or intimated by OBU’s national ranking or current win streak. Overall it was some very good volleyball played by both teams and good competition. OBU got the better of us today, but we’ll keep working on improving and look forward to the next opportunity we have to face them at the end of the month."

The Golden Eagles will now go on a two-game road trip starting Friday (Oct. 10) as they take on Southwestern A.G. (Texas) in Waxahacie, Texas.

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