McKinney, Williams help Golden Eagles maintain grasp on third place

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BETHANY, Okla. -- Freshman Carly McKinney smacked her 10th double-digit kill performance while freshman Elizabeth Williams added 22 assists and five aces to lead the John Brown University volleyball team to a 3-1 (17-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-23) come-from-behind win over Southwestern Christian (Okla.) on Tuesday (Sept. 27) night inside Springer-Pickens Gymnasium.

McKinney boasted a team-best 10 kills and 21 digs to earn her third-consecutive double-double. Senior Molli Pugh added nine kills and sophomore Kennedy Shelstead contributed eight kills and five block-assists in the win.

After its first-set loss, JBU regrouped to hit .208 percent through the remainder of the contest, limiting the hosts to a -.033 percent attack.

The second set began with a Pugh kill and a block from freshman Megan Beck, helping the Golden Eagles race to a quick 7-0 lead. Up 10-3, terminations from Shelstead and McKinney pushed the lead to nine, 13-4, and would later balloon to 11, 17-6. A temporary 5-2 resurgence from the hosts briefly delayed JBU's win, but finally back-to-back kills from McKinney sealed the second set.

The Golden Eagles again started strong in the third, this time as a result of five SCU errors and a Pugh/Shelstead block, prompting a quick 6-1 adavantage for the visitors. Back-to-back kills from McKinney and junior Bailei Brown pushed the lead to 12-4, and armed with a 18-11 advantage, John Brown had to fend off a promising Christian rally.

Three JBU attack errors fueled a quick 4-0 Eagle run, closing the gap to five, 21-16, however terminations from Pugh, Shelstead and freshman Jessica Meyer ended the host's attempt at a successful comeback.

Three early lead shifts splattered the fourth set, but a 5-5 draw was quickly broken when Williams serviced up one of her five aces, sending the Golden Eagles on a 6-0 run, which also featured a Shelstead rejection and a two more Williams aces. A brief 5-2 SCU run closed the gap two just two, 16-14, but a pair of timely Pugh smacks helped maintain a 20-16 advantage.

Adversity would then strike again as Southwestern Christian rattled off a 5-1 run to tie the score at 21 apiece. After Beck and Pugh kills, SCU again tied the score at 23. Finally an Eagle service error and attack error handed the match to John Brown.

Shaeli Munroe led all players with 12 kills while Terina Harris posted a match-best 32 digs in the loss for SCU.

The Golden Eagles (14-6, 5-2 SAC) have now won its last two and three of its last four. Southwestern Christian (12-6, 2-5 SAC) has now lost its last three.

John Brown returns to action on Friday (Sept. 30) in a 7 p.m. matchup with current first-place holder Wayland Baptist (Texas).

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