ORU Caps Home Stand vs. Northwestern State
ORU (13-2, 5-0 Southland Conference) is coming off of their biggest victory of the season, a 3-2 comeback triumph over Stephen F. Austin on Thursday night. The Golden Eagles trailed, 2-1, after three sets and were down 13-10 in the decisive 5th set before scoring the final five points of the match.
Sara Pope led ORU with 19 kills, and McKenna Qualls added 15 kills, nine digs, and a career-best seven total blocks. Laura Taylor matched her personal high with 55 set assists, and Bruna Silva anchored the defense with 36 digs.
Thursday’s win was a milestone in the history of the Golden Eagle volleyball program, as Head Coach Sheera Sirola earned her 200th career victory. Sirola is already the career wins leader in both ORU and Summit League history.
Silva’s 36-dig performance was the second-highest total accumulated by a Southland Conference player this season, trailing only her 37-dig effort on September 6 in a win over UTEP.
With the victory, ORU moved to a three-way tie for the league lead at 5-0 in Southland Conference play, with Central Arkansas and Sam Houston State. The Sugar Bears host Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, while SHSU travels to Lamar.
Northwestern State (7-9, 3-1 Southland Conference) fell to Central Arkansas on Thursday night, 3-1. The Lady Demons won the opening set, 25-15, but could not spring the upset against the defending SLC champions. Caiti O’Connell led Northwestern State with 13 kills in the loss, and Keelie Arneson tallied 34 digs.
The loss snapped Northwestern State’s six-match winning streak, a run that dated back to September 14.
ORU is 4-1 all-time against Northwestern State and split with the Lady Demons last year. ORU won the most recent match, 3-0, on November 10, 2012 at the Aerobics Center. Jessica Pancratz had 12 kills in the victory.
Northwestern State Co-Head Coaches Hugh and Stephanie Hernesman are 50-58 in their fourth season at the school. Sirola is now 200-128 in her 11th year at ORU.
Sirola's teams have been especially effective in October, posting a 67-27 record in the month.
ORU has a week off before their next match, a showdown with Central Arkansas scheduled for October 12. First serve in Conway, Ark., is booked for 12 pm CT.