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Sara Pope had 21 kills on a two-win day for the Golden Eagles

ORU Wins a Pair in El Paso

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/07/2013
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EL PASO, Texas - Oral Roberts University had an impressive day at the El Paso Sports Commission Invitational, sweeping Texas Southern in their morning match, 3-0, before coming back in the evening to knock off host UTEP, 3-1. With the wins, ORU improves to 5-1 on the season.


A week after sweeping the Lady Tigers in their season-opener, ORU had no problem once again dispatching of Texas Southern (2-3) in three sets. The Golden Eagles took the match 25-11, 25-16 and 25-16.

Sara Pope was a force in the first meeting with TSU, collecting 19 kills without an error, and she once again dominated the Lady Tigers with a 12-kill effort. Luara Rosa added her best performance of the young season, with 11 kills and seven digs, while Bruna Silva led all players with 16 digs.

The ORU offense once again clicked, hitting at a .394 clip, with Laura Taylor dishing 42 assists.

TSU was led by Veronica Azubuike, who tallied seven kills.

The opening set was surprisingly tight in the early going, with Azubuike tying it up with a kill at 8-all. But Pope answered with a kill of her own, launching a 9-0 ORU run that built a 17-8 lead. Later Silva ended the set with a service ace, giving the Golden Eagles a 25-11 victory.

Sheera Sirola’s team grabbed control of the 2nd set on the shoulders of Jessica Pancratz, as the senior recorded three kills in an early 6-0 run that gave ORU a 9-2 lead. Though the Lady Tigers stayed close throughout the set, they never truly challenged the Golden Eagles. A Pope kill at set point handed ORU a 25-16 set victory.

Texas Southern won the first four points of the 3rd set, with Sarah Wooten blasting two service aces, but they could not sustain the momentum. ORU came back to take the lead for good on a Pope kill that broke a 14-all tie, and they went on to build a 20-14 advantage. The Jenks native once again came through in the clutch to shut the match down for good, tallying her final kill of the night on match point to end the set at 25-16.

ORU’s middle hitters were a big factor in the morning win, as Pancratz finished with seven
kills on just 10 attempts and Caroline Arnould added six kills on 10 attempts.

With two blocks in the match, Pancratz moved into the No. 10 spot on ORU’s career total blocks list.


The Golden Eagles were hammered in the 1st set and trailed in the later stages of each of the next three frames, but in the end Sirola’s team showed plenty of grit in a 3-1 win. ORU took the match by scores of 16-25, 26-24, 26-24 and 26-24.

Pancratz had her best match of the young season, recording 15 kills and committing just one attack error, while Silva set a season-best with 37 digs. Taylor was spectacular as well, with seven error-free kills and 41 assists, and McKenna Qualls tallied her first career 10-kill match.

As a team, ORU hit .257.

UTEP (1-4) hit .284, though the Miners tailed off after a .436 opening set. Xitali Herrera led all players with 24 kills, and Victoria Valencia had a team-best 37 digs.

ORU had a difficult time containing Herrera in the opening set, as UTEP’s top gun blasted nine kills in the frame. Two of the senior’s kills game in a set-closing 6-0 run that gave the Miners a 25-16 victory.

The Golden Eagles got back in the match midway through the 2nd set, as a Pancratz kill kicked off a four-point rally that gave the visitors an 11-10 lead. That advantage grew to 15-11 on a Pope blast, though the Miners eventually rallied to tie the set at 21-all. But ORU held firm, retaking the lead one point later and clinching the set at 26-24 on consecutive Qualls kills.

The 3rd set looked to be headed in UTEP’s favor midway through, when a Herrera block gave the Miners an 18-12 lead. But the Golden Eagles came back with a vengeance, scoring seven of the next eight points to tie the set at 19-all. Still, UTEP held a set point at 24-23 before Pancratz fought it off with a kill. The next two points ended in UTEP errors, giving the visitors a 26-24 win and a 2-1 lead.

ORU trailed the 4th set early before a 4-0 run, capped by another Pancratz kill, gave the Golden Eagles a 9-7 edge. UTEP came back again, tying the set up late and earning another set point at 24-23 on a Madison Morris kill.

Yet again, ORU rallied, and this time it was good for the match. Pope extinguished the set point with a kill, and a Herrera error gave ORU a match point opportunity. Luara Rosa made good on the chance, smoking a kill to give the Golden Eagles another 26-24 victory, and a 3-1 win.

Pope ended the match with nine kills, and Rosa had eight to go with two blocks.

With the win, ORU improves to 9-9 all-time against UTEP.

The Golden Eagles will conclude the weekend on Saturday afternoon, when they face Southern. First serve is scheduled for 12 pm MT.

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