Volleyball regains momentum as season nears end

The Lady Eagles jumped from the bottom of the Sooner Athletic Conference to fifth on Tuesday night. Their win against St. Gregory’s (Okla.), broke their conference losing streak.

“Nobody on the team wanted to come out and finish last,” said junior Erin McIlroy. “Especially with the great start we had this preseason before conference started.”

JBU went into the match with a record of 1-8 to SGU’s 2-7 previously. The Lady Eagle’s 3-1 victory over the Cavaliers was not enough to push them to the fifth spot. A loss by Mid-America Christian (Okla.) to third placed Oklahoma City forced MACU to drop from the sixth spot in the SAC to the bottom.

McIlroy along with freshman Audrey Dearien both had nine kills against SGU and were followed by freshman Libby Blasingame.

Blasingame also led in blocks with a total of four of the team’s total 12.

Libero sophomore Becca Young led the team defensively with 24 digs, followed by junior Staci Williamson with 18.

“This game was a turn around from the ones at the beginning of conference,” said McIlroy. “We decided to come together and play together unselfishly.”

MACU will have a chance to jump back over the Lady Eagles tonight when the two teams face off in the Bill George Arena.

Their leading offensive player is Becca Anderson, with a total of 188 kills this season followed by Jordan Bately with a total of 164.

Defensively, the Lady Evangels are led by Jenny Pratt’s 265 total digs followed by Taryn Walker with a total of 246.

McIlroy said the Lady Evangels play well when they are out of system and JBU will need to adjust to their offense.

Last weekend the Lady Eagles faced Oklahoma Baptist. OBU is at the top of the SAC and have no conference losses. The Lady Eagles were able to win the first set and the entire match was filled with long volleys, though they did not end the match with a win.

OBU’s Kristin Pressley led the court offensively with 26 kills. Pressley also leads the conference in kills. Dearien lead JBU with 12 kills followed by sophomore Courtney Marshall with 10.

JBU’s Young was the top defensive player on the court with 19 digs followed by Williamson with 17. Though JBU players led the court individually, as a team OBU out-performed the Lady Eagles with 86 digs to the home team’s 73.

JBU did out block the Lady Bison with 7 to OBU’s 4. Blasingame led the team’s efforts with 3 blocks.

The Lady Eagles then went on later that night to sweep Lyon (Ark.), a non-conference team from the American Midwest Conference.

Saturday’s games were without JBU’s senior player Erin Didier, who was indefinitely suspended from the team earlier that week. Didier still leads the team in kills with a total of 355 kills during the season.

The Lady Eagles will defend their conference standing tonight at 6 p.m. in the Bill George Arena against MACU.