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Golden Eagles Travel to Big Easy for SLC Showdown

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/25/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - Southland Conference play rolls on for the Oral Roberts University volleyball team as they face the University of New Orleans on Thursday, September 26. First serve in the Big Easy is scheduled for 7 pm CT.

Live stats and a paid video broadcast of Thursday’s match are available at UNOPrivateers.com.

Oral Roberts (10-2, 2-0 Southland Conference) dealt swiftly with a pair of conference newcomers last week, sweeping Incarnate Word on Thursday and Abilene Christian on Saturday in front of lively crowds at the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center. McKenna Qualls had a huge effort in the Thursday win, with 12 kills and 12 digs, while Sara Pope led all players with 17 kills in Saturday’s victory.

Pope continues to shine as one of the Southland Conference’s top offensive weapons; through four weeks she ranks 3rd in the league with 3.76 kills per set and 6th with a hitting percentage of .304.

On the defensive end, reigning SLC Defensive Player of the Year Bruna Silva remains ORU’s backline leader. The senior is averaging 4.90 digs per set, 3rd in the league and 38th in the NCAA Division I ranks.

Dominance on the serve was a key facet of ORU’s two wins last week, as the Golden Eagles launched a season-high nine service aces vs. Incarnate Word and six more against Abilene. Jessica Pancratz set a career high with four aces on Thursday, and Qualls chipped in three on Saturday.

As a team, ORU has proven to be the Southland’s top two-way club through four weeks. The Golden Eagles lead the league in kills per set (14.20), hitting percentage (.273) and opponent’s hitting percentage (.169).

New Orleans has struggled in their first season as Southland Conference members, with a 2-12 overall record and an 0-2 record in SLC matches.

The Privateers earned their two victories in consecutive days, a 3-1 win over Savannah State on September 13 and a 3-0 sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on September 14. But the Privateers suffered two sweeps last weekend, falling 3-0 to both Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State.

Freshman Cara Sander leads the UNO offensive effort with 1.77 kills per set. Defensively, sophomore Lauren Levy enters the weekend with a team-high 3.37 digs per set, and she also has a team-best 12 service aces.

UNO Head Coach Kim Young-Buford has a record of 22-58 in her fourth season at UNO, with an overall record of 156-140 in her 10th season.

ORU's Sheera Sirola enters the week with a career record of 197-128. With three more victories, Sirola will become the first coach in Golden Eagle volleyball history to reach 200 wins.

ORU is 4-1 all-time against New Orleans and has won their last three meetings with the Privateers. The two teams last played on September 18, 1999, a 3-0 Golden Eagle victory as part of the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Golden Eagles will finish their road trip on Saturday afternoon, when they take on Southeastern Louisiana. First serve in Hammond, La., is on the books for 2 pm CT.
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