Golden Eagles Welcome Sam Houston State
The Golden Eagles (11-12, 7-5 SLC) scored their biggest victory of the season on Tuesday night, a 3-2 win over SLC-leading Central Arkansas. Tatum Fredeen hit .414 and tallied 14 kills in the victory, while Sheina Fernandes blasted 10 kills and added eight blocks.
The victory was a fine start to the most difficult week on ORU’s 2012 schedule. The Golden Eagles host the top three clubs in the SLC standings this week, continuing Thursday with the second-place Bearkats and finishing Saturday against third-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The blocking effort was again strong for the Golden Eagles, who sent back 16 Central Arkansas attacks. Sadie Schaffner matched Fernandes with eight blocks, including a career-best three solo efforts, while Jessica Pancratz added five blocks.
Bruna Silva anchored a backline that held UCA to a .203 hitting percentage. The junior collected 28 digs, while Sthephanie Mab added a season-high 13 and Joana Gruber collected nine.
Sam Houston State enters Thursday’s match on a nine-game winning streak, running their record to 14-9 overall and 9-2 in Southland Conference play. The Bearkats took down Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on October 18, 3-1, in their previous match. Sophomore Deveney Wells-Gibson tallied 23 kills in the victory.
Wells-Gibson ranks 2nd in the Southland Conference with 4.10 kills per set, and in conference play she’s posted a league-leading 4.55 kills per set average. Hometown product Kim Black, a senior, leads the Southland Conference at 1.41 blocks per set, and she ranks 3rd in the league with 34 service aces.
Kendall Cleveland had 16 kills and Wells-Gibson added 11 as the Bearkats swept ORU in both schools’ SLC opener, on September 13. With the win, SHSU improved to 5-3 all-time against the Golden Eagles.
ORU’s Sheera Sirola enters the match with a career record of 181-123 in nine-plus seasons, while SHSU Head Coach Brenda Gray is in her 29th season at SHSU with a career record of 589-420.
With a victory on Thursday, ORU can clinch a spot in the eight-team Southland Conference Tournament, which begins on Nov. 16 in Conway, Ark.
The Golden Eagles wrap up their three-match home week on Saturday afternoon, when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Match time is scheduled for 3 pm CT.