Sixth-seeded Oral Roberts University stunned third-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3-0, on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament. With the win, the Golden Eagles (16-14) will face second-seeded Sam Houston State on Saturday at 11 am CT in the semifinal round.
ORU swept the Islanders by scores of 25-20, 25-16 and 25-18.
All-Conference selection Sheina Fernandes powered the Golden Eagles to victory, with 10 kills and three service aces, while fellow senior Joana Gruber added eight kills.
Defensively, Bruna Silva lived up to her SLC Libero of the Year billing, with 19 digs, while freshman Kylie Johnson came up with 14 digs.
As a team, ORU hit .273 and held the Islanders to a .132 hitting percentage.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (21-11) was led by Brooke Alverson, who scored eight kills. Ivy Baresh had a team-high 11 digs in the loss.
With the win, the Golden Eagles are now 13-0 all-time in their first match of a conference tournament.
ORU surged to a first set victory by taking the period's final eight points. Fernandes pounded three kills during the rally, including blasts on the final two points, as ORU overcame a 20-18 deficit to win the opener, 25-20.
That momentum carried into the second set, when Sheera Sirola's club won the first seven points. Gruber started the run with a kill and Fernandes followed with two aces to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead. The Islanders never seriously threatened, and one final Fernandes ace gave ORU a 25-16 victory.
The third set was tied at 12-all before the Golden Eagles unleashed another blistering run, taking 10 of the next 11 points. Laura Taylor started the stampede with a kill and then supplied an ace and five assists to help ORU to a 22-13 lead. That advantage would hold up, and the Golden Eagles booked their semifinal ticket with a 25-18 win.
In addition to earning ORU a spot in the tournament semifinals, Friday's win assures ORU of a second consecutive winning season.
ORU lost two regular season matches to Sam Houston, 3-0 on September 13 and 3-2 on October 25. Those results will matter little, however, when the two teams square off on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Saturday's game will be streamed live and free of charge on the Southland Conference Digital Network, and the winner will advance to Sunday's Championship match.
The winner of Sunday's Championship match, which begins at 2 p.m. CT, earns the Southland Conference's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.