ORU Hosts League-Leading Central Arkansas
The Golden Eagles (19-5, 11-3 Southland Conference) have won two straight matches, a 3-0 sweep of Sam Houston State on October 31 and a 3-1 win over Lamar two days later. Sara Pope led the Golden Eagles with 16 kills in the Lamar win while Bruna Silva tallied 23 digs in each of the two triumphs.
With the wins, ORU continues to maintain one of the top seeds in a very crowded SLC table. The Golden Eagles are 11-3 in league play, tied with Sam Houston State for 3rd place with four match days remaining for most clubs. Central Arkansas leads the league at 14-0, with Northwestern State checking in at 12-2.
The Golden Eagles still have an outside shot at the Southland regular season crown, which would be their first since winning the 2006 Mid-Con title, but a victory on Saturday is vital to the cause.
Pope continues to solidify her reputation as one of the most feared offensive weapons in the Southland. The Jenks native ranks 2nd in the conference with 3.73 kills per set, and her efficiency, including a .299 hitting percentage, places her a cut above the league’s other outside hitters.
Silva, meanwhile, continues her quest for a third consecutive piece of defensive silverware. The senior averaged 6.60 digs per set last week, more than a full dig higher than any other SLC libero, and for the season she ranks 2nd in the conference with 5.21 digs per set.
Central Arkansas has shown little drop-off from their 2012 SLC championship season, as they enter the week with a 22-3 record, 14-0 in Southland play. The Bears are coming off of a victory over one of their top challengers to the Southland crown, a 3-1 win over Sam Houston State on November 2.
Jessica Nagy led Central Arkansas with 16 kills in the victory over Sam Houston, while Heather Schnars came up with 15. UCA hit .181 in the match and tallied 13 blocks.
Schnars leads Central Arkansas with 3.34 kills per set, while Nagy averages exactly 3.00. The Bears are one of just three Southland Conference teams to have two players averaging at least three kills per set.
On the defensive side, libero Shelbee Berringer has been the top Central Arkansas contributor, averaging 4.77 digs per set.
The Golden Eagles are 5-4 all-time against Central Arkansas, although the series has tilted in UCA’s favor since ORU joined the Southland Conference. The Bears are 3-1 against ORU since 2012, including a 3-1 victory in the 2012 Southland Conference Tournament Championship Match.
ORU lost their first meeting with the Bears this season, a 3-1 setback on October 13 in Conway, Ark. Pope once again led the Golden Eagles offensively, with 12 kills, while Kylie Hartman swatted 16 kills to pace UCA.
Following Saturday's tilt, ORU will take just two days off before traveling to Nacogdoches, Texas, for a matchup with Stephen F. Austin that starts the final week of the regular season. First serve on Tuesday is booked for 7 pm CT.