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ORU Heads to El Paso for Weekend Tournament

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/06/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University continues their 2013 volleyball campaign this weekend, when they take part in the El Paso Sports Commission Invitational in El Paso, Texas. ORU faces Texas Southern on Friday, September 6 at 10 am MT before battling the hosts from UTEP at 7 pm MT. One day later, ORU finishes the weekend against Southern, with first serve scheduled for noon MT.

Live statistical coverage of the tournament, as well as live video of the match vs. UTEP, is available at UTEPAthletics.com.

The Golden Eagles are 3-1 after losing a five-set thriller to rival Tulsa on Tuesday night. ORU dropped the first two sets before rallying to force a fifth frame, where they were beaten by a 16-14 count.

Freshman McKenna Qualls led the attack with nine kills in the Tulsa match, while Bruna Silva had a team-high 20 digs. Laura Taylor tallied ORU’s first double-double of the season, with 12 digs and 26 assists.

Senior middle blocker Jessica Pancratz recorded six total blocks in the Tulsa match and now stands on the cusp of joining ORU’s career record books. With her second block of the weekend, Pancratz will pass 2010 alumnus Jocelyn Swier for 10th on ORU’s career blocks list.

ORU’s last trip to El Paso came in 2008, when the Golden Eagles went 3-0 at the season-opening Sun Bowl Invitational. Oral Roberts knocked off NJIT, Butler and UTEP at the event, with all three victories coming in 3-0 sweeps. ORU’s Jackie Oliveira earned Tournament MVP honors, while Carol Garbato and JoJo Souza were named to the All-Tournament team.

Despite the success in 2008, ORU is just 3-3 all-time in the city of El Paso. The Golden Eagles dropped individual road matches to UTEP in 1985, 1992 and 1994.

ORU is 1-0 all-time against Texas Southern defeating the Lady Tigers last week, 3-0, at the TSU Invitational in Houston. The Lady Tigers are 2-2 on the season after going 2-1 at the TSU Invitational to start the season and losing to Houston, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

Veronica Azubuike led Texas Southern with 18 kills in the loss to Houston and is averaging a team-best 3.58 kills and 3.17 digs per set for the year.

UTEP is 0-3 after a very difficult opening weekend which saw them suffer losses to San Diego, No. 1 Texas and No. 11 Hawai’i at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Honolulu.

Xitlati Herrera leads the Miners with 2.90 kills per set through one weekend of play, while Victoria Valencia averages a team-best 3.30 digs per set.

The Golden Eagles are 8-9 all-time against UTEP, but has won their last two meetings with the Miners, in 2003 and 2008. UTEP’s last victory over Oral Roberts came on October 18, 1994, a 3-2 victory in El Paso.

Oral Roberts is 3-0 all-time against Southern, with the most recent victory coming last week, 3-0, at the TSU Invitational. Prior to that, ORU knocked off the Jaguars in 1977 and 1993. The Jaguars went 0-3 at the event and have not defeated a non-SWAC NCAA Division I member since September 8, 2007, a 3-0 victory over Hampton University.

Phalen Clark posted a team-best 2.40 kills per set at the season-opening tournament, while Michelle Williams leads the club with 2.50 digs per set.

Following their trip to El Paso, ORU heads to Statesboro, Ga., for the Springhill Suites Invitational. The Golden Eagles will face High Point, North Dakota State and host Georgia Southern at the event, which begins in September 13.
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