Volleyball drops five-set thriller to Texas Welseyan

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- Freshman Carly McKinney posted a match-high 20 kills but the John Brown University volleyball team couldn't finish off a five-set comeback (15-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 8-15), falling to Texas Wesleyan (16-2, 3-2 SAC) on Friday (Sept. 23) night inside Bill George Arena.

Wesleyan used 10 aces and 12 Golden Eagle service errors to offset a JBU advantage in hitting, .169-.129 percent.

"Tonight's match was a hard fought on by both teams," head coach Ken Carveradmitted. "Our team fought hard and battled against a team we have historically have played a lot of close matches with the past three seasons. The tale of the tape really boiled down to our serve and pass game. We made far too many errors from the service line and gave up far too many aces in serve-receive as well. Between both of those areas we gave up 22 points to Texas Wesleyan.

"Part of our pregame scouting report was talking about the impact unforced errors would have on the outcome of the match against two evenly-matched teams. Texas Wesleyan served us aggressively and, as a result, we weren't able to run as balanced an offensive attack as we would have liked. That being said, Carly getting 20 kills on the match and hitting .296 as well as Bailei getting 11 kills and only having 1 attacking error for an attack efficiency of .370 really paced our team offensively."

The opening set featured an early Wesleyan lead until the Golden Eagles (12-6, 3-2 SAC) knotted the score at 11 all. A quick 9-0 TWU run placed the first set out of reach for the hosts.

Junior Bailei Brown's kill offered John Brown a 14-9 lead in the second. JBU continued to build the momentum, building a 20-12 advantage, eventually running away and tying the match at one apiece.

An 11-7 Ram lead in the third quickly evaporated when sophomore Brittany Ayers' kill tied the set at 16. Attacking errors limited the Golden Eagle rally, allowing the visitors to take a 2-1 advantage.

The fourth set was highlighted by a 9-2 start for JBU. The Rams eventually would cut the lead to two, 17-15, but the two-point lead would mostly hold until another Brown termination and a block from freshman Jessica Meyers and senior Molli Pugh helped the hosts finish the set on a 4-1 run, setting up a fifth and final set.

The Rams hit a match-best .304 percent in the last stanza, turning a 5-5 draw into an 11-6 advantage. John Brown couldn't recover closer than three points, 11-8, as TWU closed the match on a 4-0 run.

Shelby Stinnett led the Rams with 17 kills and 16 digs while Alanna Hayhurst posted 10 kills and 16 digs in the win. Sasha Robinson led all players with 37 assists to figure along with 15 digs. Chalon Anderson led all players with 44 digs.

McKinney paced JBU with a double-double, adding 11 digs to match-best 20 kills. Pugh added 12 terminations and 21 digs, also nabbing a double-double, while Brown barely missed out on a third, finishing with nine kills and 11 digs. Junior Beth Brankle's 33 digs led all Golden Eagles.

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