Oral Roberts University took Northwestern State to the limit on Saturday afternoon before falling to the Lady Demons, 3-1, in Southland Conference action. The loss drops ORU to 6-11, 2-4 in SLC play.
The Lady Demons (12-6, 4-2 SLC) won by scores of 25-18, 25-18, 21-25 and 27-25. The fourth set was the toughest, with the home team failing to capitalize on three match points before finally putting the match away.
Sheina Fernandes led the Golden Eagles with 11 kills, while freshman Sadie Schaffner came off the bench to record ten. Defensively, Bruna Silva paced the squad with 24 digs, and Kylie Johnson set a career high with 14.
Stacey DiFrancesco led the Lady Demons with 21 kills, and Keelie Arneson collected 30 digs. NSU outhit the Golden Eagles, .156 to .119.
The Lady Demons took control of the opening set with an early 7-0 run. DiFrancesco smacked two kills over the rally, which ended with the home team lead, 10-3. The huge lead held for the remainder of the first period, which NSU won by a 25-17 count.
The second set was much tighter early on, with the Golden Eagles tasting success. Kills by Joana Gruber and Shelby Robb helped ORU to a 5-1 run that gave the visitors a 15-12 lead. But a pair of DiFrancesco kills ended ORU's good fortune and propelled the Lady Demons to a 16-15 edge, and ORU never led again in the set. A late 6-0 run helped Northwestern State win the second period, 25-18.
The Golden Eagles took control of the third set behind a strong service run from Fernandes. The senior blasted a pair of aces to stake ORU to an 8-0 lead, and they would never trail. Three straight Schaffner kills made the score 14-6, and another smash from the freshman gave ORU a set point. Fernandes finished it off with a kill, keeping the Golden Eagles alive with a 25-21 win.
The fourth set was perhaps the tightest one that ORU has played this season, with neither team leading by more than two points at any time. A Laura Taylor kill gave ORU an 11-9 edge, but the Demons came back to take a 17-15 lead on a Schaffner error. A solo block by Fernandes tied it at 17-all, and later ORU would lead, 22-21, on a kill from the senior.
But NSU scored three straight points, capped by a DiFrancesco ace, to earn match point at 24-22. ORU would go on to fight off three match points, with Jessica Pancratz and Schaffner providing crucial kills, before the Demons finally ended with match with a 27-25 win.
Pancratz led all players with seven total blocks, including one solo effort, with Taylor tallied a team-high 25 set assists.
The Golden Eagles return home on Thursday, October 4 to face SLC rival Lamar. First serve is slated for 7 pm CT.