Volleyball Finishes Off Season Sweep of Texas Wesleyan

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (November 7, 2014) -- Unlike the two squads’ first matchup back on Oct. 11 that featured a five-set thriller, the Golden Eagles (21-10, 9-6 SAC) pieced together its 12th sweep of the season by dispatching Texas Wesleyan (13-18, 9-6 SAC) in straight sets (25-14, 25-21, 25-23) tonight inside Bill George Arena.

The victory places the two teams in a tie for the fourth seed in next week’s Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, to be held at Wayland Baptist (Texas). Wesleyan finishes its season tomorrow at Oklahoma City while John Brown hosts Southwestern A.G. (Texas) tomorrow at noon.

“I like the way our team came out tonight and picked up right where they left off this past Tuesday,” said head coach Ken Carver. “Tonight’s match against Texas Wesleyan, as well as tomorrow’s match against SAGU, goes a long way in determining the middle seeds in the tournament. While all of us are aware of that, we really have been talking with the team about living in the moment and playing their best in the moment and stringing enough of those moments together that goods things ultimately will happen.

“I felt we were relaxed on the court, yet were very focused in what we wanted and needed to do. Our aggressiveness from the service line really helped our team out tonight. While we had a stretch during the second set where we missed more serves than I would have wanted, our team did a good job of hitting their zones and serving at players we needed to. Texas Wesleyan is a very capable team in terms of their offensive production and efficiency between their outside and middle hitters as well as one of their opposite hitters and can give teams a lot of problems when they get rolling. One of the main components of our game plan tonight was to not give them the opportunity to do that. The other area that Texas Wesleyan hurt us a lot last time was short tipped balls that we left drop to the floor. A few of those still made it to the floor tonight, but I felt we did a much better job of recognizing when a tip or off-speed shot was coming and then responding accordingly.”

That defense held the visiting Rams to a .067 and .103 attack percentages in the first and second sets, respectively. TWU managed just 29 kills on the evening, but committed 12 attack errors, leaving the visitors with an overall .128 percent on attack. John Brown, meanwhile, hit at a .212 percent (44-15-137) and scooped up 77 digs in the win. Senior defensive specialist Becca Young posted a team-high 17 digs while junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien grabbed 16. Sophomore setter Shayna Daniels notched 12 digs while junior outside hitter Melissa Bakke contributed 10.

John Brown received more than five kills from six different players as Bakke completed the double-double with a team-leading 10 terminations. Senior outside hitter Vanessa Uhrhahn found double-digit kills for the first time this season with 10, and Daniels pieced together her double-double by adding a match-high 20 assists to her dig output. Junior outside hitter Tiffany Hunnicutt chipped in nine kills and two block-assists while Dearien added six more terminations in the win.

“Our back row defense did another fantastic job picking up balls as this was at least the third straight match where we averaged over 20 digs a set,” Carver continud. “Shayna and Alyssa [Arnold] did a good job of spreading the ball around and we had a pretty balanced night offensively, in terms of the number of sets each of our front row players got. Vanessa did a great job of making smart shot selection tonight and Melissa continued the offensive hot streak she has been on over the past couple of matches.

“We still have one more important match tomorrow to play to finish up the regular season before we know what our seed will be for the conference tournament. I like the momentum we have going at this point and how things are clicking at a bit more efficient pace. Should we be able to maintain this focus and level of execution, I like our chances of having a special finish to the season.”

No player reached double-digit kills for the Rams as TWU was paced by eight terminations from Alex Hendee. Lauren Hamaker totaled 13 assists and Meghan Finley threw up a match-best three solo blocks in the loss.

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