JBU volleyball season ends in quarterfinals

The John Brown volleyball team came out swinging, hitting .237 in the first set, but the momentum shifted quickly as the fourth-seeded Golden Eagles fell in four sets (19-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-19) to fifth-seeded Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Nov. 7, inside Bill George Arena in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal round.

The first set featured seven ties and a pair of early lead changes that the Golden Eagles (21-11) won handily, courtesy of five terminations from junior Erin Mullins and another four from junior Taylor Golmen.

The offense then struggled, while Oklahoma City found its rhythm. The Stars (14-12) took the next three consecutive sets to pull off the only road-team victory in the quarterfinal round.

There were only seven ties and one lead change over the final three games.

One bright spot for the Golden Eagles were the middles, as Mullins posted a match-best 14 kills on 27 attacks (.296) and Golmen contributed 10 terminations on 22 swings (.409).

Freshman Sara Welch eclipsed the 20-assist mark for the third time this season with 22, but also facing 11.5 team blocks from the Stars' front row, John Brown finished the evening hitting .141 (44-23-149). Mullins and Golmen combined for five blocks in the front row.

Oklahoma City sustained many rallies with its effective effort from the service line as the Stars dished out 11 aces on the night. The Golden Eagles have allowed double-digit reception errors six times this season, falling in all six contests.

Junior Julie Milligan collected 15 digs, and junior Grace Barfknecht added another 10 in the back row.

Ruby Kelley led the Stars' attack to the tune of 14 kills and added 11 digs and three block-assists to complete the double-double. Natalie Adams' 31 assists help the OCU offense finish at a .165 (47-24-139) efficiency on the night.

The loss closed out the season for the Golden Eagles in the quarterfinals for the second time in the last four seasons.

Oklahoma City, meanwhile, lost to Southwestern Assemblies of God in the semifinals on Friday. Texas Wesleyan defeated SAGU 3-1 on Saturday in the finals in Waxahachie, Texas.