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ORU Falls in Five to Missouri State

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 08/30/2012
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Bruna Silva led ORU with 24 digs in the loss to Missouri State
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Oral Roberts University suffered a five-set loss for the second time in six days on Thursday, falling, 3-2 (25-17, 26-28, 19-25, 25-16, 16-14), to Missouri State on the opening day of the University Plaza Invitational. The loss drops ORU to 2-2, while the Bears improve to 1-3 on the season.

Amber Doolittle and Christine McCartney led the home team with 18 kills each, while Carly Thomas tallied a whopping 61 set assists. MSU hit .237 on the night to ORU’s .160 clip.

Tatum Fredeen paced the ORU offense for the second straight match, collecting a team-high 17 kills. Luara Rosa added a double-double with 14 kills and 12 digs, and Sheina Fernandes put up a fourth straight double-digit effort with 13 kills.

Defensively, Bruna Silva put up a team-best 24 digs, and Jessica Pancratz led the blocking effort yet again with a career-high eight block assists.

The loss drops ORU to 9-26 all-time against the Bears.

The Bears took control of set one in the early going, with a McCartney kill giving the home team a 5-2 lead. ORU rallied to take an 11-10 lead on back-to-back MSU attack errors, but the rally was a precursor to a momentum-changing 5-0 run by the home team. An ace by Ashley Mason was the highlight of the run, which gave MSU a 15-11 lead. They would control the set the rest of the way, winning, 25-17.

ORU took control of the second set midway through, as another pair of MSU errors gave Sheera Sirola’s club a 12-10 lead. But Doolittle would smack a pair of kills to spark a 6-0 MSU run, giving the Bears a 16-12 advantage. MSU would continue to control the set, earning a quartet of set points on a Doolittle kill that made the score 24-20.

But ORU fought off all four of the set points, thanks to kills by Pancratz, Fernandes and Kylie Johnson. The Golden Eagles would go on the win the set, 28-26, as kills by Fernandes and Fredeen swung the last two points in ORU’s favor.

ORU’s best showing came in the third set, when they hit .333 as a team and won, 25-19. The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 7-2 lead, keyed by an early Fernandes service ace, and they never looked back. Another Fredeen kill gave the Golden Eagles a six-point set win and put the visitors on the brink of a victory.

But MSU won the first two points of the fourth set and would go on to lead throughout. A Thomas service ace capped a 4-0 Bear run that stretched their lead to 15-10. McCartney racked up kills on the final two points, giving the home side a 25-16 win and setting the stage for a fifth set.

MSU raced out to a 5-1 lead in the decisive fifth set, putting ORU in a precarious position. But Sirola’s team rallied, winning six of the next eight points, including two Pancratz kills, to tie the set at 7-all. The junior tied the set at 13-all with another kill later in the set, but Doolittle earned an MSU match point with a kill on the ensuing point.

Rosa helped ORU kill off that match point with a kill on the next rally, but McCartney earned another by following with a kill of her own. Finally, Kaitlin Jaeger won the match for MSU with a kill that ended the set at 16-14.

Laura Taylor led the Golden Eagles with 52 set assists, while Johnson had the strongest match of her young career with seven kills and 12 digs. Fredeen and Fernandes had two solo blocks each in the loss.

ORU returns to the court on Friday, when they face UALR on the second day of the University Plaza Invitational. First serve is scheduled for noon CT.
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