Opening Day sweep for ORU volleyball at Lamar

ORU Athletics

BEAUMONT, Texas – The Oral Roberts volleyball team held off ULM in the opening match of 2021 (25-16, 26-28, 25-15, 20-25, 15-13) before picking up another win against host Lamar (25-15, 25-19, 16-25, 25-22) for a perfect start Friday from McDonald Gym in the Katrinka Crawford Invitational.

The Golden Eagles scored the first point of the season and rode that to a 7-2 advantage behind a strong serving run from Jeslyn Spencer and back-to-back kills by freshman Trinity Freeman in her ORU debut. The lead stretched into double digits, 15-5, as the attack continued before the gold and blue closed the frame, 25-16. ULM turned an early five-point deficit into an eight-point cushion in the second set and evened the match, 28-26, despite two set points for ORU.

It was an all-around effort for the Golden Eagles in the third stanza posting a .370 hitting percentage with 11 kills and one error, while the defense forced ULM into a negative attack, to comfortably claim the set, 25-15. ORU pushed to a 12-4 lead and never looked back capping the set on a solo block by Jaxie Wakley. The Warhawks opened the fourth set with a 7-2 burst and the Golden Eagles fought to keep the score close, but could not recover as the action went to ULM, 25-20.

In the fifth set, the Warhawks carried the momentum and jumped in front, 5-1, before ORU chipped away and evened the score, 7-7, on a kill by setter Bryanne Soares. After falling behind by two, the Golden Eagles again rallied on back-to-back points by Spencer and Kaia Dunford and sprinted to the finish on a 7-3 run to close the season-opening victory, 15-13.

After an extended layoff for the afternoon, ORU picked up where it left off and controlled the opening set against the host Cardinals in the night cap jumping to a 12-7 edge thanks to a 9-3 run. Consecutive service aces from Spencer gave the Golden Eagles a 21-11 margin and the visitors closed the set, 25-15. The offense continued to impress in the second set as Wakley and Dunford tallied kills for an 8-3 advantage. The lead stayed with ORU despite Lamar pulling within three, 15-12, and the final three points of the set went to the Golden Eagles for a 25-19 set win.

A late 7-0 run from the Cardinals turned a one-point contest into a 23-15 lead and kept the match going with a 25-16 win in set three. Lamar extended the push in the fourth set claiming five of the first six points, including one on an overturned call via a challenge and ORU used that as motivation scoring the next five points for a 6-5 lead. The teams traded points in the middle of the set before the Golden Eagles tallied a block and kill for a two-point cushion, 18-16, and fought to put away the match, 25-22.

Inside the Match One Box Score

  • Dunford led ORU offensively with the second 20-kill effort of her career finishing with a match-best 20 behind an incredible .452 hitting percentage. The sophomore added 17 digs to complete the double-double.
  • LaCour put together the top performance of her career totaling 15 kills on 29 swings and led the Golden Eagles with six blocks (one solo block, five block assists).
  • Freeman ended her first collegiate outing one kill shy of a double-double recording nine kills and 10 digs. Wakley joined Freeman with nine kills and added two solo blocks and two block assists.
  • Libero Sarah Thiessen led four ORU players in double-digit digs as the redshirt senior registered 20. Spencer ended the match with 11 digs and had three of the team’s 10 service aces.
  • Sylvia Lawson totaled 35 set assists and eight digs, while Soares added 15 assists and four digs.
  • ORU posted a .299 hitting percentage for the match never hitting below .270 in a set and dominated the net holding an 11-3 edge over the Warhawks in total blocks.

Inside the Match Two Box Score

  • Thiessen had 16 of her game-high 27 digs in the first two sets as she moves closer to 1,000 digs for her career sitting at 988.
  • Dunford finished with 16 kills and 16 digs for her second-straight double-double, while Spencer added a 10-kill, 10-dig double-double to go with three service aces.
  • Freeman buried a season-best 13 kills on a .324 hitting percentage.
  • Soares finished with 37 set assists and six digs and Lawson had 10 assists.
  • Wakley led ORU with six blocks on one solo and five block assists and LaCour turned in three solo blocks and two block assists as the visitors owned an 11-5 advantage at the net.

Up Next
The Golden Eagles close the weekend facing Prairie View A&M Saturday morning at 10 a.m.