Dearien’s Aces and Pugh’s Attacks Help Golden Eagles Cruise Past Evangels

Press Release Photo
Melissa Bakke (15) terminates one of her three kills against Mid-America Christian.

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (October 6, 2015) -- Senior Audrey Dearien continued her torrid ace output with six and junior Molli Pugh didn’t make an attacking error en route to seven terminations as the John Brown volleyball team (15-6, 5-2 SAC) landed a quick, clean sweep (25-13, 25-19, 25-21) over Mid-America Christian (Okla.) on Tuesday (Oct. 6) night inside Bill George Arena.

In the quick 70 minute match, Dearien, already ranked third in the nation in total kills (55), added six more and terminated a match-high 13 balls in the Golden Eagles’ fifth-consecutive Sooner Athletic victory. Pugh smacked seven kills on 12 attempts to finish with a .583 attack percentage while senior Libby Blasingame also added seven kills and a pair of blocks.

“I thought our starters did a good job of going out and executing from the first whistle and setting the tempo for the match,” said head coach Ken Carver. “Due to their efficiency along with the steady, continued improvement by our role players, we were once again able to have everyone on our team see time on the floor this evening. In spite of the different lineups we had on the floor, I was really pleased with our first ball contact, aggressiveness from the service line and our team defense.”

Reserve freshmen Elizabeth Bjornsen, Bailei Brown, Kennedy Shelstead and Brittany Ayers all saw playing time in the third set. Ayers notched her first collegiate kill in the final frame.

“We talked about being patient defensively tonight due to MACU playing a bit slower tempo offense and having our block be disciplined with their jump- timing. Our dig/set and block/set average tonight was above our season average in both categories so I think we did a good job of executing that part of the game plan. I thought Beth did an excellent job for us in the back row covering a lot of ground to keep balls alive for us.

“It was good to get another home win and a win in conference to keep our momentum rolling. We need to keep doing that and staying focused in order to keep pace with the teams that are still above us in the standings. We’ll look to finish off the first round of conference play against Bacone on Thursday with another strong performance.”

With the victory, after starting off 0-2 in conference play, JBU has now won five straight in Sooner Athletic play.

While John Brown didn’t hit extremely well overall, just a .184 percentage (36-17-103), the Golden Eagle defense threw up nine blocks and dug 46 MACU attack attempts to hold the visitors to a -.010 percentage (24-25-99). The Evangels committed 25 attack errors and allowed JBU to volley 10 service aces in the contest.

Sophomore Beth Brankle finished with a match-high 15 digs, the 18th time this season she has finished in double digits. Sophomore Alyssa Arnold passed out 29 assists and dug nine MACU attempts.

After a season-high three straight losses, the Golden Eagles have rebounded for five wins in its last six matches and are now 6-1 inside Bill George Arena.

The Evangels (11-6, 2-5 SAC) suffered just its second road loss of the season and was paced by eight Melissa Hoppal kills and 11 digs in the loss.

JBU will conclude its four-match homestand on Thursday (Oct. 8) when it welcome Bacone (Okla.) for a 7 p.m. match.

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