Volleyball completes improbable, captures home-court advantage

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CHICKASHA, Okla. -- Freshman Megan Beckand Senior Molli Pugh each terminated eight attacks and the John Brown University volleyball team picked up a sweep, 25-13, 25-21, 25-17, of Science & Arts (Okla.) on Saturday (Nov. 5) afternoon, but more importantly, completed an improbable run into the postseason.

With five matches left in the regular season, four games behind then-fourth-seeded St. Greogry's (Okla.), the Golden Eagles (19-11, 11-7 SAC) needed to finish the regular season with five consecutive wins, including a victory over the Cavaliers to earn a host bid in the Sooner Athletic tournament quarterfinals.

The Golden Eagles did just that.

Limiting the host Drovers (2-18, 2-16) to a -.016 hitting percentage, JBU racked up seven aces despite its hitting attack of just .140 percent. Nine team blocks and 69 digs vaulted the visitors over the first-year program.

Beck hit a team best .389 percent (8-1-18) and accumulated three block-assists and Pugh added another eight kills on 28 attempts and posted four block-assists to fuel the JBU front-line offense. The balanced attack also featured a trio of five-kill performances from junior Bailei Brown, freshman Jessica Meyer and sophomore Kennedy Shelstead as the trio combined to hit .200 percent on the afternoon.

Meyer and Shelstead also contributed four block-assists. While freshman Carly McKinneydidn't have her usual offensive output, she remained steady on defense, scooping 17 digs, helping junior Beth Brankle as she also posted 23 digs and a trio of aces in the victory.

Junior Alyssa Arnold recorded the lone double-double, dishing out 15 assists while landing 12 digs. While JBU racked up 69 digs on 123 total Drover attacks, USAO buried itself with 25 attack errors.

USAO's Dana Stepankova led the visitors with six kills and seven digs.

The win, coupled with the 3-1 win over SGU on Friday (Nov. 4) clinches the quarterfinal home court advantage for the Golden Eagles. John Brown will host St. Gregory's on Tuesday (Nov. 8) at 6 p.m. at Bill George Arena. The winner will advance to the semifinals, hosted by Wayland Baptist (Texas) on Friday (Nov. 11). The title game will be played in Plainview, Texas on Saturday (Nov. 12) afternoon.

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