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Sirola's Team Heads to Mean Green Invitational

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/06/2012
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TULSA, Okla. - The non-conference schedule comes to a close for Oral Roberts University this weekend as they travel to Denton, Texas for the Mean Green Invitational. The Golden Eagles open the tournament on Friday with a noon CT match against host North Texas, and they take on Hofstra later in the day. On Saturday, Sheera Sirola’s team faces Eastern Michigan at 1 pm CT.

A live video broadcast for ORU’s match against North Texas is available on UNT’s official athletic website, MeanGreenSports.com. Additionally, MeanGreenSports.com will feature live stats for every match at the tournament.

ORU (4-4) heads into the tournament on a two-match skid after falling in five sets to Tulsa on Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles held an 8-5 lead in the fifth set before surrendering seven of the next eight points, and they ultimately dropped the deciding frame by a 15-13 count.

Seniors Sheina Fernandes and Tatum Fredeen led the Golden Eagles with 12 kills each against the Golden Hurricane, while junior Laura Taylor notched a double-double with 10 digs and 45 assists.

On the defensive end, Bruna Silva led the Golden Eagles with a season-high 27 digs, while Fernandes and Jessica Pancratz had seven blocks each.

Fernandes has earned all-tournament honors at each of ORU’s first two tournaments of the season. The senior enters the tournament averaging 2.67 kills per set with a .326 hitting percentage.

Silva is the reigning Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week after tallying 20 digs in six of ORU’s first eight matches. The 2011 Summit League Defensive Player of the Year is averaging 5.18 digs per set, the second-highest mark in the SLC.

North Texas is 7-2 but fell in their last match, 3-1, on Monday night at Texas Tech. Freshman Carnae Dillard leads the Mean Green with 3.80 kills per set through nine matches, while junior Courtney Dillard averages 3.60 kills per set at a .332 hitting percentage. Defensively, libero Shelby Tamura averages a team-high 5.29 digs per set.

Hofstra is 8-1 after losing for the first time on Tuesday night, a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Seton Hall. Sophomore Kelsie Willis is the reigning AVCA and Collegiate Volleyball Update National Player of the Week after tallying 73 kills in three matches last week, including 27 against Siena. For the season, Willis averages 5.90 kills per set and is hitting at a .309 clip.

EMU is 6-2 on the season and went 2-1 at the UIC tournament last week, including a loss to IPFW and wins over UT-Arlington and the hosts from Illinois-Chicago. Senior Rachel Iaquaniello is EMU’s top gun, averaging 4.19 kills and 3.00 digs per set.

ORU and Eastern Michigan share two common opponents, with both clubs earning early-season victories over UALR and Austin Peay.

ORU is 16-4 all-time against North Texas. Sirola’s team last played the Mean Green on September 6, 2008, a three-set victory in Tulsa. Thais Parada led ORU with nine kills, eight digs and 21 set assists in the win.

The Golden Eagles have never faced Hofstra or Eastern Michigan.

ORU opens conference play on Thursday, September 13 when they face Sam Houston State. First serve in Huntsville, Texas is set for 7 pm CT.

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