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SPORTS: Oral Roberts University

ORU Volleyball Survives Road Test From Lamar

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BEAUMONT, Texas -

Oral Roberts University withstood a tough challenge from Lamar University on Saturday afternoon, putting away the Lady Cardinals, 3-1, at McDonald Gym. The Golden Eagles (19-5, 11-3 Southland Conference) have now won two consecutive matches.

ORU took the match by scores of 25-20, 25-21, 26-28 and 25-15.

Sara Pope was on point once again for ORU, leading the club with 16 kills. McKenna Qualls added 11 kills for the Golden Eagles, who posted a team hitting percentage of .234.

Defensively, Bruna Silva paced ORU with 23 digs, and Pope had nine to fall just short of a double-double.

Lamar (8-18, 6-8 Southland Conference) was led by Cortney Moore, who recorded 11 kills. Erika Rojas was Lamar's top backline player, with 13 digs. The Lady Cardinals hit .138 as a team.

The home team may have been heavy underdogs at the start of the day, but they were ready to play from the opening serve. A Lamar block tied the 1st set at 12 and set the stage for a difficult fight. But ORU gradually built a lead, taking a 19-16 advantage on a Lamar error and winning the set, 25-20, on another LU miscue.

ORU scored four straight points early in the second set, capped by a Laura Taylor kill, to take a 7-4 lead. Lamar stayed close, but again Sheera Sirola's team was able to fend off their opponent. Pope provided a kill on ORU's third set point to give the Golden Eagles a 25-20 win.

Sirola's club built a 19-7 3rd set lead on a Jovana Poljasevic kill, and a sweep looked to be in the cards. But Lamar fought back, posting two separate five-point runs and two more four-point runs. The Lady Cardinals survived two ORU match points and came all the way back to win the set, 28-26, on an Autumn Taylor kill.

The momentum wouldn't last long, though, with ORU scoring 10 of the first 12 points in the 4th set. Qualls blasted a kill to give ORU a 10-2 lead, and Poljasevic made it 17-8 on her fourth and final kill of the night. At match point, Jessica Pancratz supplied the kill, and ORU won the clinching set, 25-15.

ORU is now 9-5 all-time against Lamar and has won all three of their meetings with the Lady Cardinals since joining the Southland Conference before the 2012 season.

ORU is tied with Sam Houston State for thirdplace in the SLC standings, at 11-3, after the Bearkats were beaten by Central Arkansas on Saturday. Only Northwestern State (11-2) and Central Arkansas (14-0) are ahead of Sirola's squad.

The Golden Eagles will have a crack at Central Arkansas on November 9, when the Sugar Bears come to the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center. Match time is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.

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