Golden Eagles Head South to Face Nicholls
Live video and statistical coverage of Thursday’s match is available at GeauxColonels.com.
The Golden Eagles (13-4, 5-2 Southland Conference) won their first five conference matches but have dropped two straight, including a 3-1 loss to defending league champion Central Arkansas on October 12. Sara Pope led the Golden Eagles with 12 kills in the loss, but ORU hit just .174 as a team.
The setback dropped ORU to 5-2 in conference play, good for 5th place in the SLC standings. Central Arkansas leads the league at 7-0, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8-1), Sam Houston State (7-1) and Northwestern State (6-1) all outpace the Golden Eagles as of Wednesday afternoon.
Laura Taylor tallied 34 assists in the loss to Central Arkansas and continues to climb the ORU record books. The senior from Broken Arrow enters the week with 3,521 career assists and needs just 31 more to pass Thais Parada (2005-08) for 2nd on ORU’s career list.
Pope continues to make her case as the top outside attacking threat in the Southland Conference. The junior from Jenks enters the weekend ranked 4th in the conference with 3.60 kills per set and 7th with a .301 hitting percentage.
On the defensive end, senior Bruna Silva is ranked 2nd in the league with 4.98 digs per set, while Jessica Pancratz is ranked 3rd with 1.05 blocks per set. The Tulsa native has also excelled offensively as a senior, ranking 2nd in the Southland with a .331 hitting percentage.
Pancratz is also moving up the ORU record books. She enters the week with 310 career blocks and will pass Amanda Saner (1993-96) for 7th place on ORU’s career blocks list with three more this weekend.
Nicholls State is 5-14 at the start of the week, with a 2-7 record in Southland Conference matches. The Colonels lost twice last week, 3-2 to Stephen F. Austin on October 10 and 3-1 to Northwestern State on October 12.
Despite their 5-14 record, Nicholls boasts two of the top offensive players in the Southland Conference. Kayla Burling averages 3.33 kills per set, 6th in the league, and Kayla Mashburn ranks 10th in the league with 3.12 kills per set. Still, Nicholls ranks just 11th in the Southland Conference with a team hitting percentage of .146.
Nicholls Head Coach Tommy Harold is in his first season leading the Colonels, with a 5-14 record. In 11 total seasons of collegiate coaching, he sports a record of 212-127.
ORU's Sheera Sirola enters the week with a career record of 200-130.
Oral Roberts is 4-0 all-time against Nicholls State, including wins in 1976 and 2003 and a pair of victories last season. ORU’s most recent win over the Colonels came on November 20, 2012, a 3-1 win in Thibodaux. Among current Golden Eagles, Sadie Schaffner led the way with 11 kills, while Silva racked up 20 digs in the win.
Following Thursday's match, ORU will bus to Lake Charles, La., for a matchup against McNeese State. First serve on Saturday is scheduled for 2 pm CT.