ORU Survives South Dakota Scare, 3-2
The victory is the tenth in a row for Sheera Sirola’s team, giving the team their first ten-match winning streak since the 2006 season.
The win is especially sweet after USD (11-12, 5-6 Summit League) handed ORU their only conference loss so far this season with a 3-2 win on Sept. 15 in Tulsa.
Junior Tatum Fredeen led ORU with 16 kills and committed just four errors on the afternoon. Elizabeth McVicker added 13 kills, and Olivia Ophus had 11.
Defensively, Bruna Silva had a team-high 26 kills, and Sthephanie Mab added 11.
USD’s Kendall Kritenbrink had 34 kills in the teams’ first meeting and led all players with 24 on Sunday. Carol Logato led the Coyotes with 19 digs.
ORU took control of the opening game with a 6-1 run, punctuated by consecutive service aces from Ophus to give the team a 13-9 lead. But the Coyotes rallied to take the lead and stood on the brink of victory when an Amber Aschoff kill gave USD a 24-22 lead.
The Golden Eagles responded by taking the final four points of the set, including a kill from McVicker to stave off game point. Tied at 24, Fredeen took over, smoking back-to-back kills to give ORU a 26-24 win.
USD controlled the second set after a 5-0 run, including two aces by Aschoff, gave them a 13-7 edge. The game was never truly close again, and a Tahnee Reed service ace gave USD a 25-18 win.
Down 22-20 in the crucial third game, Fredeen kicked off a 3-0 run to give ORU a 23-22 edge. But USD rallied, and forced a game point at 25-24 on a Kim Bulaga kill. Ophus fought off the first game point with a kill, but the Coyotes scored the next two points, including a kill by Kritenbrink, to win 27-25.
A 3-0 USD rally midway through the fourth set gave the home team a 14-8 run, and it looked like ORU’s winning streak would end at nine matches. But the Golden Eagles would not be denied. Ophus opened an eight-point spurt with a kill, and USD aided with cause with four attack errors and two bad sets.
Ophus again came up huge to end the game, as another kill gave ORU a 25-19 win and necessitated a winner-take-all fifth set.
Capitalizing on the momentum from the fourth set rally, ORU owned the fifth set right from the outset, winning the first nine points. Laura Taylor opened the game with a service ace, and Jessica Pancratz ended the run with a kill. The 9-0 deficit was too much for USD to come back from, and Fredeen eventually ended the set at 15-9 with yet another kill, clinching the win for ORU.
Beginning with Ophus’ fourth set kill that kicked off the 8-0 run, ORU won 20 of the match’s next 21 points. The Golden Eagles also won 26 of the final 36 points in the match.
Taylor’s 48 set assists led the Golden Eagles, and the sophomore added five kills and nine digs. Ophus also chipped in nine digs, falling one short of a double-double.
The Summit League leaders will return to Tulsa on Thursday night, when they host Western Illinois. First serve at the Cooper Aerobics Center is scheduled for 7 pm.