Jordan Beech, Assistant Director of Athletics Communications
ALVA – A gutsy performance in front of a rowdy crowd at Percefull Fieldhouse led Oklahoma Baptist to a 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 30-28) win over Northwestern Oklahoma State and the program’s first outright regular-season Great American Conference title. The Bison were picked to finish seventh in the GAC preseason poll.
After falling behind in the first set against the second-place Rangers, OBU ripped off three-straight set wins, including a nail-biting 30-28 decisive fourth set.
Trailing 28-27 deep into extra points, Audrey Poupard and Hayley Daniel stuffed Kiauna Clark, the reigning AVCA National Player of the Week, at the net to level the proceedings at 28-28 and break the Rangers’ serve. With Taneyah Brown holding serve, the Bison moved ahead to match point after Kaylee Buell fed Daniel for her 20th kill of the night. Needing one point, the kill came from an unlikely source as Diana Carranza scored on a free ball.
Malia Leatherland led OBU with 23 kills on 60 attack attempts, while Daniel finished with 20. Rylen Moore handed out 33 assists, followed by Buell with 24.
Defensively, OBU finished with 14 total blocks, including 10 total blocks by Poupard. Carranza and Daniel tied for a team-high 24 digs apiece.
Oklahoma Baptist (25-5, 14-2 GAC) will enter Visit Hot Springs/Bank OZK Arena next week as the No. 1 seed. The GAC Tournament is set to begin on Thursday, Nov. 21.