The Lady Eagles are set to host the annual John Brown University Invitational this weekend. JBU holds a record of 13-2 and sits at 16 in the NAIA Division I standings. They currently have the highest seating in the standings and have won more games than any other team coming to the Invitational.
A total of 19 volleyball games will be played this weekend between eight different teams on three different courts all at the University.
Some of the teams attending include Evangel (Mo.), Oklahoma Baptist and Southwestern Assemblies of God (Texas).
The Invitational does not work like a tournament, to avoid inter-conference play prior to the regular conference season.
The Lady Eagles will play their first match of the weekend at noon on Friday in the Bill George Arena against Peru (Neb.).
Peru has a season record of 1-11 and they are in the Heart of America Conference.
Tara Gonzales is leading the team offensively with 94 kills followed by Brittany Peterson with 74 kills. Emily Maresh leads her team and her conference with 212 total digs this season. Maresh’s defensive prowess is the key to any success the Bobcats may have.
Southwestern Assemblies of God (Texas) will face the Lady Eagles at 7 p.m.that evening. SAGU has a season record of 1-6 and are in the Red River Conference.
Leading their offensive effort is Jessica Sodich with 92, followed by Caitlyn Hudson with 76.
Brittany Briggs is leading SAGU defensively with 91 digs, followed by Sodich with 80.
Both these teams are likely ill-equipped to face JBU’s strong offense and dynamic passing.
Freshman Audery Deardien is leading the Lady Eagles with 207 kills, followed by senior Erin Didier with 205.
Junior Kailey Bain has been JBU’s main force in passing with a total of 316 assists, followed by senior Aubrey Adams with 236.
On Saturday, the Lady Eagles will take to the court again on Saturday for a rematch against Wiley (Texas). On August 25, JBU lost to Wiley with a final score of 3-1.
After that game, Staci Johnson, the team’s head coach, said freshman Libby Blasingame’s absence in the first set due to a nosebleed affected the team’s court dynamic.
Blasingame is one of the lead blockers on the team with 52 total this season, followed by junior Erin McIlroy with 51.
Wiley’s blocking is not as strong as JBU, with only one play, Susan Tsisiche, has more than 20 blocks.
Their leading defensive player is Diana Castaneda with 102 digs. Teammate Magda Santos has 84 digs, the second most digs for Wiley.
Santos also has the second most kills for her team with 96 total. Ingrid Mosquera leads with 126 kills.
The Lady Eagles will finish their weekend against former NAIA member Southern Nazarene. SNU is currently within their transitional phase as they petition to enter the NCAA. Before leaving the NAIA, they were members of the Sooner Athletic Conference, the same conference the Lady Eagles play in.
Nicole Greenway is currently leading the team in kills with 39, followed by Jamie Hope with 32 total kills.
Natalia Oliveria has 69 digs, followed by Kaitlyn Belanger with 49 to lead SNU’s defense, which has a total 257 digs as a team.
The Lady Eagle’s final game of the Invitational against SNU will be at 7 p.m. All of JBU’s games this weekend will be in the Bill George Arena.