Volleyball Continues Hot Streak in Atchison

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ATCHISON, Kan. -- The John Brown University volleyball team continued its perfect season, but this time in unusual fashion. The Golden Eagles (5-0), despite not having a single player in double-digit kills, relied on strong blocking and coverage, forcing host Benedictine (Kan.) into 29 attack errors, sending JBU to a quick 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-14) sweep on Friday (Aug. 26) afternoon at the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium.

Freshman Carly McKinney, senior Molli Pughand sophomore Kennedy Shelstead led the Golden eagles with seven, six and five kills, respectively, while McKinney added a team-best 11 digs in the win.

The Golden Eagles haven't started a season with at least five wins in a row since 2009, a season in which John Brown finished 23-11. JBU started out 9-0 that season.

After trading points the majority of the first set, a Raven service error handed JBU a 22-18 edge. Shelstead picked up two of her five kills before the Golden Eagles closed out the first set.

Benedictine (0-1) picked up its lone lead of the match early in the second set, but after trading points, in a set that seemed all JBU, the host Ravens stayed in contention down the wire.

Up just 17-15, a Pugh termination jump-started a quick 4-0 run that featured a pair of Bethany Maddox aces. Kills from McKinney and Pugh down the stretch, stopped a 4-1 late Benedictine rally.

Up 2-0, the Golden Eagles put the match away with its most impressive defensive effort of the evening, holding the Ravens to a -.188 attack percentage (6-12-32).

Tied at seven, again with Maddox servering, John Brown rattled off a 7-0 run. The lead eventually ballooned to eight, 19-11, Pugh and freshman Megan Beck contributed back-to-back kills to end the match.

The Golden Eagles pieced together its second-best attack effort of the young season, connecting at a .273 clip (27-6-77).

Junior Beth Brankle added nine digs and setters Alyssa Arnold and Elizabeth Williams each dished out 11 assists in the win.

JBU closes out the Benedictine Invitational on Saturday (Aug. 27) with matches against Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) and St. Mary (Kan.) at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

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