Golden Eagles Lock Up Quarterfinal Hosting Duties, Sweep Season Series with MACU

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- For the third time in four years, the John Brown volleyball team (20-14, 9-6 SAC) has eclipsed the 20-win mark, this time doing it by sweeping past Mid-America Christian (Okla.) behind 13 Libby Blasingame kills on Tuesday (Nov. 3) night at the Gaulke Activities Center.

With the victory, the Golden Eagles guarantee a Sooner Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinal game at Bill George Arena, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 7). Official seeding will be released later this week by the conference offices.

John Brown used a pair of sets, the second and third, in which it hit over .300 percent to nab the 25-22, 25-22, 25-14, victory. JBUs third set featured a .324 percent attack (13-1-37) and kept the Evangels to a .056 percent mark (8-6-36) in the same frame. Overall, the Golden Eagles struck at a .288 percent and kept MACU attackers out of rhythm for most of the game at a .127 percent, collecting 16 more digs (54-38) on the evening. MACU committed just one less attacking error (15) than John Brown, but JBU (46) smacked 17 more kills than the hosts.

Senior Libby Blasingame posted a match-high 13 kills, committing just two errors, while throwing up a pair of blocks. Junior Molli Pugh contributed 12 terminations and four block-assists while senior Audrey Dearien tacked on nine kills and recorded five digs.

Sophomore Alyssa Arnold passed out 36 assists and completed the double-double with 10 digs while Beth Brankle followed up her record-setting performance on Saturday with a match-best 17 digs and added one of JBUs six aces on the night.

Knotted at 20 in the first set, a pair of Pugh kills helped the visitors maintain a 23-21 lead. MACU would pull back to within one, but an error and a set-ending kill from Blasingame sent JBU off to a 1-0 lead.

The second set featured a bit of dramatics when the Evangels rallied back from a 20-13 deficit. Down 23-17, MACU fell victim to another attack error, setting up the Golden Eagle set point. The theatrics then ensued as the hosts ran away on a 5-0 streak, pulling to within two, 24-22. Finally, senior Melissa Bakkes smack from Arnold ended MACUs comeback bid.

The final frame was all Golden Eagles from the start. Arnold kicked off the set with an ace and Blasingames termination vaulted the visitors on top, 10-4. Up 17-11, a pair of kills from Dearien and another two kills from freshman Kennedy Shelstead helped JBU finish off the Evangels with an 8-3 run.

No MACU (15-11, 5-10 SAC) player finished in double-digit kills. Melissa Hoppal notched nine, with five errors, in the loss while Laurel Church added seven. Hannah Luedtke passed out 23 assists while Camera Broadnax recorded 15 digs.

The Golden Eagles will now close out the 2015 regular season against winless Bacone (Okla.) on Thursday (Nov. 5). The match, which will be played in Muskogee, Okla., will start at 7 p.m.

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