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ORU Caps Non-Conference Slate in Peach State

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/11/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University plays their final non-conference tournament of the regular season this weekend when they travel to Statesboro, Ga., for the Springhill Suites Invitational. The Golden Eagles will face North Dakota State on Friday, September 13 at 5 pm ET. One day later, ORU takes on High Point at 10 am ET before ending the tournament against host Georgia Southern at 7 pm ET.

Live stats for this weekend’s tournament, along with a paid video broadcast, will be available at GSEagles.com.

Oral Roberts (6-1) has won three straight matches after capturing the title at the El Paso Sports Commission Invitational last weekend. ORU scored a 3-1 victory over host UTEP and swept both Texas Southern and Southern to win their second tournament in as many weeks.

Jessica Pancratz, who set a career high with 15 kills in the UTEP win, was named to the all-tournament team in El Paso along with fellow senior Bruna Silva. The Rio de Janeiro, Brazil native doubled her trophy collection for the week when she was named Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Silva averaged 5.53 digs per set last week, with 20 in a Tuesday loss to Tulsa and 37 in the victory over UTEP.

Through two weeks, ORU paces the Southland Conference with a .309 hitting percentage. Pancratz leads the league individually, with a .451 mark, while Sara Pope (.335 hitting percentage, 5th place) and McKenna Qualls (.300, 9th) also rank in the top ten.

Silva, the two-time conference defensive player of the year, leads the SLC with 4.46 digs per set through two weeks, while Pope, the 2012 America East Player of the Year, ranks 2nd with 3.52 kills per set.

North Dakota State had a rough going in 2013, with a difficult schedule leading to an 0-6 record heading into this week’s tournament. NDSU lost to Louisville, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa last weekend at the NDSU Doublewood Inn Classic.

Freshman Emily Miron has been NDSU’s top offensive player through six matches, averaging 2.47 kills per set with a .221 hitting percentage. Veteran libero Danielle Dombeck, one of just two players remaining from NDSU’s 2011 Summit League championship team, averages a team-high 2.74 digs per set.

ORU is 4-11 all-time against North Dakota State, with a 2-10 record against the Bison while the two clubs were members of the Summit League from 2007-2011.

The Golden Eagles last faced North Dakota State on November 19, 2011, a 3-0 loss in the 2011 Summit League Championship Match in Ft. Wayne, Ind. Among current Golden Eagles, Pancratz had a team-best four kills, while Silva had 16 digs. Lauren Cammack led current NDSU players with seven kills in the match, with Dombeck recording five digs.

High Point snapped a four-match skid with a 3-2 win over Elon on Tuesday. Prior to that, HPU suffered 3-0 losses to host Cleveland State, UC Irvine and Fort Wayne last weekend at the CSU Invitational.

Junior Chelsea Davis racked up 23 kills in High Point’s season-opening victory against FIU and leads the Panthers through six matches with 3.72 kills per set. Sophomore Annemarie Chin, an All-Big South Conference selection as a freshman, averages a team-high 4.64 digs per set through seven matches.

Georgia Southern is 6-1 after an impressive weekend at the Magnolia Invitational, where they earned 3-1 victories over Arkansas State and host Ole Miss and a sweep of Kennesaw State. The Eagles features a balanced attack with four players averaging over 2.50 kills per set. Junior Jamie DeRatt leads the pack, with 3.13 kills per set through seven matches.

Like Oral Roberts, Georgia Southern has gone 3-0 in each of their first two tournaments of the season. In addition to their tournament title last week at Ole Miss, the Eagles went 3-0 at South Alabama’s tournament to start the season.

The Golden Eagles have never before faced High Point or Georgia Southern, though they are 3-0 all-time against the Big South Conference and 2-0 against the Southern Conference.

ORU is 6-0 all-time in the state of Georgia. The Golden Eagles swept host Georgia, Duke and Villanova at the 1998 Georgia Invitational, and they returned to the Peach State in 2011 to knock off Chattanooga, Winthrop and host Kennesaw State at the Owls Invitational.

Following the weekend in Georgia, ORU will return to Tulsa to open both the Southland Conference and home schedules. The Golden Eagles will host Incarnate Word on Thursday, September 19 at 7 pm CT, while Abilene Christian invades the Aerobics Center on Saturday, September 21 at 2 pm CT.
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