Five-Setter Goes ORU's Way in 3-2 Win over UALR
ORU won by scores of 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-6.
Sheera Sirola’s team had dropped their last two matches, both in five sets, to Buffalo on August 24 and Missouri State on Thursday night.
Sheina Fernandes continued her run of fine play to start the season, leading the Golden Eagles with 17 kills and a career-best seven blocks on Friday afternoon. Tatum Fredeen added 12 kills for the Golden Eagles, who swung at a .193 clip.
Defensively, Bruna Silva led a quintet of players with double-digit digs, as the junior libero collected a team-high 20. Luara Rosa added 14 digs, while Olivia Ophus and Kylie Johnson rung up 13 each and Laura Taylor had 10.
Edina Begic slotted in a match-high 21 kills to lead the Trojans (2-2). Emily Pepperman added a team-best 16 digs, and Begic had 14. The Trojans hit at a .173 clip.
UALR broke free of the Golden Eagles with a 6-3 run midway through the first set. A kill by Sawyer Schaedig sparked the run, which ended with the Trojans leading, 15-10. Begic smashed a kill on the closing point of the set, giving UALR a 25-20 win.
ORU hit .323 in the second set, blitzing the Trojans right from the start. The Golden Eagles won the first three points of the set and took a 5-1 lead on a Jessica Pancratz kill. Later Fernandes kicked off a 5-0 run with a kill, as ORU took a 23-16 advantage. A Taylor kill gave the Golden Eagles a 25-19 victory.
The third set was tight throughout until Fernandes blasted two kills as part of a 4-1 that gave the Golden Eagles a 20-17 lead. But the Trojans come back to take a 22-21 lead on an Eva Xie kill, forcing an ORU timeout.
The Golden Eagles responded to the stoppage of play with a set-closing 4-0 run that earned them a 25-22 victory. Fredeen and Silva notched kills in the run, and Taylor added a crucial service ace that put ORU ahead, 2-1.
UALR scored the first two points of the fourth set to take control in a must-win situation. Later, Marleen de Zoete capped a 4-1 Trojan run with a kill that gave UALR a 14-11 advantage, one they would not relinquish. A Begic blast gave UALR a 25-20 win, forcing a fifth set.
After crushing fifth set losses in their last two matches, ORU left nothing to chance on Friday and dominated the decisive frame right from the start. Rosa collected two kills on the set’s first three rallies, giving ORU a 3-0 lead, and Fernandes added a kill midway through to start a 4-0 run that ended with the Eagles on top, 9-2. After UALR tried to rally, the Golden Eagles shut them down with a match-closing 4-0 run, capped by a Rosa kill, that gave Sirola’s club a 15-6 victory.
With the win, ORU is now 19-9 all-time against UALR.
The Golden Eagles face a tough doubleheader tomorrow afternoon as play wraps up at the University Plaza Invitational. ORU face Austin Peay at 10 am CT, while No. 11 Dayton awaits Sirola’s club at 3 pm CT.