Season Ends in Quarterfinals as Late Fifth-Set Lead Slips Away From Golden Eagles

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PLAINVIEW, Texas (November 14, 2014) -- In its third matchup of the season against Texas Wesleyan (15-18), the fourth-seeded Golden Eagles (22-11) couldn’t pull off a third-consecutive win over the fifth-seeded Rams as TWU rallied from a late fifth-set deficit to take the final game and the win against JBU in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals this afternoon, 25-19, 21-25, 25-17, 18-25, 13-15.

Three Golden Eagles finished the match with double-digit kills, led by junior outside hitter Audrey Dearien’s team-leading 17 terminations. Junior outside hitters Melissa Bakke and Tiffany Hunnicutt also chipped in with 15 and 10, respectively, while senior defensive specialist Becca Young ended her career with a career-high 28 digs. Dearien finished the double-double with 25 scoops while sophomore setter Shayna Daniels serviced over a trio of service aces and notched a match-high 35 assists. Freshman setter Alyssa Arnold posted her fifth double-double of the season, sending out 17 assists and grabbing 17 digs in the loss.

John Brown struggled offensively in its season finale, managing just a .133 attack percentage (61-35-195), but also limited the Rams to a .143 offensive efficiency (53-26-189). Junior middle hitter Libby Blasingame and sophomore middle hitter Molli Pugh were the most efficient players for the Golden Eagles as Blasingame finished with eight kills and hit .273 percent while Pugh also landed eight terminations and attacked at a .250 hitting rate.

With the first set deadlocked at 16 apiece, four Wesleyan errors created some distance as Bakke took over, landing three kills before Dearien and Hunnicutt finished off the set with back-to-back terminations, helping JBU race to a 9-3 run to capture set one.

The second set featured an early 8-2 John Brown lead, but a 6-0 Ram rally quickly tied the set at 8-8. The squads would battle to four more ties until a 19-19 score was broken by consecutive JBU attacking errors. A trio of terminations from TWU’s Shelby Stinnett finished the set in favor of the Rams, 25-21.

Similar to the first two, set three was highlighted by a 9-9 tie that was quickly broken by a Hunnicutt kill, starting the Golden Eagles on a 9-2 run that featured kills from Dearien and Blasingame while Blasingame and Hunnicutt threw up a well-timed block as well over the stretch. With a commanding 18-11 lead in hand, a pair of terminations from Bakke and Dearien each returned the match lead to JBU, 2-1, with a 25-17 set three win.

In the fourth set, the Rams boasted its best single-set hitting percentage of the afternoon (.333) while John Brown was limited to a .125 percent effort. After a 6-6 tie was broken by a JBU attack error, Wesleyan never relinquished the lead, running to a 25-18 win, forcing a fifth and decisive set.

With a perfect 4-0 record in fifth-game scenarios under its belt, John Brown rallied from a 4-4 tie behind a trio of Dearien terminations to take an 8-4 lead. Wesleyan slowly battled back and forced a 13-13 score before a Golden Eagle attack error, its 35th of the afternoon, was followed by a match-clinching termination from Alex Hendee.

Stinnett posted a match-high 18 kills in the win while Wesleyan also received 15 and 12 kills from Hendee and Abigail Zipoy, respectively. Laruen Hamaker earned 26 assists in the win and Lynsay Buell notched four block-assists to lead all players.

With the season coming to a close, the Golden Eagles will graduate five players this year including Tiffany Hunnicutt, Courtney Marshall, Kendra Ammons, Becca Young and Vanessa Uhrhahn.

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