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ORU Hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 10/23/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - After two straight weeks on the road, the Oral Roberts University volleyball team returns to Tulsa on Thursday, October 24 to host Southland Conference heavyweight Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Match time at the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center is scheduled for 7 pm CT, with live video and statistical coverage available at ORUGoldenEagles.com

Oral Roberts (15-4, 7-2 SLC) has won two straight matches, a 3-0 sweep of Nicholls State on October 17 and a 3-0 win over McNeese State two days later. Sara Pope was an offensive juggernaut in the wins, posting 18 kills against Nicholls and 15 more against McNeese. The junior hit .464 in the wins and was named Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Pope continues to make a case as the Southland’s most complete offensive weapon, averaging 3.78 kills per set with a .317 hitting percentage through eight weeks of play. The Jenks native leads ORU attackers in both categories, ranking 2nd in the SLC in kills and 4th in hitting percentage.

Libero Bruna Silva also had a strong week in Louisiana, earning an honorable mention nod in the SLC Defensive Player of the Week balloting. The Brazilian averages 4.99 digs per set, 2nd-best in the Southland.

Two Golden Eagle seniors continued to climb the ORU career record books last week. Jessica Pancratz moved into the 6th spot on ORU’s career blocks list during the Nicholls match and now has 318 total blocks for her career. Laura Taylor, meanwhile, passed Thais Parada for 2nd place on ORU’s career assists list and now has 3,597 assists for her career.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has established themselves as one of the top sides in the Southland Conference, with a 14-8 (9-2 Southland Conference) record to start the week. The Islanders did drop their last match, however, a 3-0 home loss to Northwestern State on October 19. Prior to that, they had won seven straight matches, all in league play.

Sophomore outside hitter Ivy Baresh leads the Islanders and ranks 4th in the Southland Conference with 3.63 kills per set, while senior Brianna Brink ranks 12th with 3.03 kills per set. AMCC is one of just three SLC clubs with two players averaging over three kills per set.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Head Coach Tony Graystone is in his fourth season in Corpus Christi, with a record of 69-79. Overall, he has a career record of 384-140 in 13+ seasons.

ORU's Sheera Sirola is 202-130 in her 11th season on the ORU bench.

Oral Roberts is 2-1 all-time against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, with all three meetings taking place last season. ORU upended the Islanders in their last meeting, a 3-0 sweep in the SLC Tournament Quarterfinals on Nov. 16, 2012. ORU’s defense was key to the win, with Silva racking up 19 digs and Kylie Johnson adding 14. ORU held AMCC to a .132 hitting percentage.

The Golden Eagles continue Southland Conference action on Saturday, October 26, when they host Houston Baptist. First serve is scheduled for 2 pm CT.
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