Golden Eagles Fall in Straight Sets to Evangel

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 10, 2013) -- The Golden Eagles suffered its seventh loss in nine games Tuesday (Sept. 10) evening as visiting Evangel (Mo.) handed John Brown a 3-0 sweep (20-25, 21-25, 23-25) in Bill George Arena.

The Crusaders (6-6) entered the match having already played stiff competition, facing No. 2 Columbia (Mo.), No. 14 Park (Mo.) and No. 24 Grand View (Iowa) in its last couple of matches. It showed tonight as Evangel earned advantages in kills (43-39), digs (49-46) and hitting percentage (.294-.221) en route to the clean-slate victory.

In the first set, JBU battled back from three points down to close the deficit to 9-8. The Crusaders, however, mounted an 8-3 run that effectively put the Golden Eagles out of contention in game one. EU maintained the five-point lead until two kills from Melissa Bakke and a strike from Libby Blasingame pulled the host team within 2 points (20-18). Evangel would finish game one on another streak, this time of the 5-2 variety, to steal the set, 25-20.

The second set wasn't much different as three Golden Eagle errors allowed the Crusaders to jump to a 10-5 lead. Four Bakke kills would draw JBU to within two (11-9), gaining John Brown momentum that translated into a 14-12 advantage, courtesy of a Erin McIlroy kill. Again, an EU run midway through the set proved the difference again. Three more Blue and Gold errors allowed Evangel to take a 22-18 lead after a 10-4 forced head coach Stacie Johnson to call a timeout.

The timeout proved worthwhile as a kill from Bakke and a service ace from Molli Pugh closed the gap to 22-21. However, three consecutive kills by three separate Crusaders handed the visitors a 25-21 game two win, and a commanding 2-0 match lead.

The final set featured back-and-forth action, resulting in 10 ties. A Blasingame kill knotted the score at six before two-straight Crusader errors allowed the Golden Eagles to take a 13-12 lead. For the third-consecutive game, Evangel used another run midway through the set, forcing John Brown on its heels. EU powered to a 8-3 run, making yet another comeback difficult for the home team.

Down 20-16, kills from Audrey Dearien, Courtney Marshall, Bakke and McIlroy gave JBU a glimmer of hope as the score was tied again, 20-20. However a pair of John Brown miscues handed the third and final set to Evangel, 25-23.

Bakke paced the Golden Eagle offense, finishing with 12 kills. The next highest output for the hosts was McIlroy's eight tallies, followed by six from Dearien. Kailey Bain and Shayna Daniels split duty again running the JBU offense as Bain contributed 14 assists while Daniels chipped in with 21. Two Golden Eagles completed the evening in double-digit digs as Staci Williamson landed 13 and Molli Pugh saved 11 would-be Crusader points.

John Brown (4-8) will now rest until the weekend when it travels to Salina, Kan., to participate in the Kansas Wesleyan tournament where it will meet Tabor (Kan.), host Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Mary (Kan.) and a rematch with Ozarks (Mo.).

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