TULSA, Okla. - The Oral Roberts University volleyball squad opens their 2012 season on Friday, August 24 at the UB Invitational in Buffalo, N.Y. The Golden Eagles will face San Jose State at 11 am ET on Friday before finishing the day against Canisius at 5 pm ET. One day later, Sheera Sirola’s team concludes their first tournament of the season against host school Buffalo at 5 pm ET.
Live stats and video broadcasts will be available for each match of the UB Invitational at BuffaloBulls.com. Video is available for $7.95 per event.
The Golden Eagles posted a 20-10 record last season, including a 12-6 mark in Summit League play. ORU finished 3rd in the Summit League regular season standings and advanced to the championship match of the 2011 Summit League Tournament.
ORU won 19 of 20 matches at one point in the 2011 season and finished the campaign with an RPI of 87.
Then-sophomore Bruna Silva was the 2011 Summit League Defensive Player of the Year after tallying one of the best individual seasons in ORU history. The Niteroi, Brazil native averaged 5.66 digs per set last season, the 13th-best mark in the NCAA Division I ranks and the third-best single-season total in ORU history.
Silva and senior Olivia Ophus were 2012 Preseason All-Southland Conference selections. Ophus, a Tulsa native, averaged 2.03 kills and 2.68 digs per set last season.
ORU was picked 2nd by both the head coaches and the sports information directors in the 2012 Preseason SLC Polls. In their first season as SLC members, ORU tallied a league-high nine first place votes in the polls, but Sirola’s team finished three points behind Central Arkansas in total voting.
ORU is 2-0 all-time against Buffalo, but the Golden Eagles have never before faces Canisius or San Jose State. ORU is the only school participating in the event that finished with a winning record in 2011, as San Jose State (12-17), Canisius (15-15) and Buffalo (11-19) all finished at or below the .500 mark.
SJSU finished 6th in the Western Athletic Conference with a 6-8 league mark, and they fell to New Mexico State in the quarterfinals of the 2012 WAC Tournament, 3-0. The Spartans return four starters from last season’s 12-win season, including 2nd Team All-WAC selection Alex Akana. The senior middle blocker averaged 2.04 kills per set last season while hitting at a .309 clip.
Canisius earned the fourth seed in the 2011 MAAC Tournament, where they were swept in the semifinals by top-seeded Niagara. Senior Samatha Good was a 2nd Team All-MAAC selection in 2011 after tallying 2.37 kills and 0.77 blocks per set. Good was the 2010 MAAC Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, when she averaged 2.90 kills per set and hit at a .326 clip.
Buffalo lost their last three matches in 2011 and did not qualify for the MAC Tournament, finishing 11th in the conference. UB’s top returner is junior Dana Musil, who averaged 2.92 kills and 2.55 digs per set a season ago.
Head Coach Todd Kress, who is in his fourth year at UB, tallied his 300th career victory last season in a victory over Bowling Green.
Following the tournament, ORU will head to Springfield, Mo., for the adidas Invitational, to be held August 30 through September 1. The Golden Eagles will face the hosts from Missouri State, UALR, Austin Peay and Dayton at the event.