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ORU Hosts Incarnate Word to Open SLC Play

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/18/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University opens the 2013 Southland Conference schedule and plays their first home match of the season on Thursday, September 19 when they host new SLC member Incarnate Word. First serve at the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center on the ORU campus is scheduled for 7 pm CT.

A live video broadcast of Thursday night’s match, along with live statistical coverage, is available free of charge at ORUGoldenEagles.com.

Oral Roberts (8-2) enters Southland play riding high after posting their best 10-match opening stretch since the 1996 NCAA Tournament season. The Golden Eagles went 3-0 in tournaments at
Texas Southern and UTEP before winning two of three matches last weekend at the Georgia Southern Tournament.

Offensively, ORU has been the Southland Conference’s top club through three weeks of action, leading the league with 14.09 kills per set and a .276 hitting percentage. Individually, junior Sara Pope ranks 3rd in the league with 3.62 kills per set and 7th with a .299 hitting percentage, while senior Jessica Pancratz ranks 3rd in both hitting percentage (.366) and blocks per set (1.00).

Defensive stalwart Bruna Silva has once again risen to the top of the Southland Conference in her senior season. The two-time conference player of the year grabbed all-tournament honors at both UTEP and Georgia Southern, and she leads the conference with 4.83 digs per set.

Senior setter Laura Taylor continues to shoot up the ORU record books. The Broken Arrow native passed Debora dos Santos for 3rd on ORU’s career assists list midway through the Georgia Southern match on September 14, and she needs 697 more helpers to become ORU’s career leader in the category.

Incarnate Word is 4-2 in their first of four transitional seasons as members of the NCAA Division I classification and the Southland Conference. The Cardinals are is 1-1 against NCAA Division I competition after upsetting Texas Tech, 3-2, on Monday night. The Cardinals fell to UT-Pan American, 3-2, on September 10.

Sophomore Angelique Vidaurri leads UIW with 3.35 kills per set through seven matches, and she is hitting .297 on 172 attempts. Vidaurri posted 23 kills in Monday's win over Texas Tech.

The Cardinals went 10-21 last season, with a 7-13 league record in their final season as members of NCAA Division I and the Lone Star Conference.

UIW Head Coach Jen Montoya is 151-175 in her 10th season coaching at Incarnate Word.

ORU's Sheera Sirola is 195-128 in her 11th season coaching the Golden Eagles. Already the career leader in ORU and Summit League history, Sirola needs just five more victories to become the first Golden Eagle coach to reach the 200-win plateau.

ORU has never before faced Incarnate Word. The Cardinals are the fourth and final first-time opponent on ORU's 2013 schedule.

ORU will return home on Saturday to face another new member of the Southland Conference, Abilene Christian. First serve at the Aerobics Center is scheduled for 2 pm CT.
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