Sara Pope blasted 18 kills, leading Oral Roberts University to a 3-0 sweep of Nicholls State on Thursday night at Stopher Gym. ORU improves to 14-4 (6-2 Southland Conference) with the victory.
ORU downed the Colonels by scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 27-25.
Pope finished just one shy of her season high and led the Golden Eagles to a sterling .385 hitting percentage. Individually, the Jenks native hit .500 on 30 attempts.
Bruna Silva led the ORU defensive effort with 14 digs, while Jessica Pancratz added six blocks (one solo). With the big effort, Pancratz vaulted past two former players and into the 6th spot on ORU's career blocks chart, with 316.
Luara Rosa added nine kills for the Golden Eagles, while Laura Taylor compiled 37 assists and four service aces.
Nicholls (5-16, 2-9 SLC) was led by Kayla Burling, who smacked 23 kills, a season-high for an ORU opponent in three sets. As a team, the Colonels hit a respectable .214, but the fell to 0-5 all-time against ORU.
Two early kills by Pope helped ORU to a 4-1 lead in the first set, but they truly took control midway through the period. A 7-0 run on the serve of McKenna Qualls, including three straight Pope kills, gave the visitors an 18-11 lead. The won the set, 25-17, with Rosa smashing the kill at set point.
The second set was much closer until ORU staged a 5-0 run late. Taylor recorded two of her four kills during the rally, which gave the Golden Eagles a 22-16 edge. Pope added a blast on set point to give ORU a 25-17 victory.
The third set was the toughest of the night for Sheera Sirola's club, as they fell behind, 21-19, on a setting miscue. But Rosa responded with two kills in a 4-0 rally that moved ORU ahead, 23-21. ORU had their first two match points killed off thanks to points from Burling and Robin Sill, but a Nicholls error on the third match point gave ORU a match-clinching 27-25 victory.
The win is the 201st of Sirola's head coaching career and ends a brief two-match losing skid for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles will bus to Lake Charles, La., for a matchup against Southland rival McNeese State. First serve on Saturday is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.