Sheera Sirola’s 200th win as ORU Volleyball head coach couldn’t have been any more exciting.
With the crowd going crazy, the Golden Eagles were able to sneak out a 15-13 score in the fifth set to defeat Stephen F. Austin.
ORU was down two sets to one, but fought out a close fourth set win and came back from two points down in the final set to claim the match.
Sirola, a native of Croatia, is the only ORU Volleyball coach to reach the 200 win mark.
“It’s a great feeling that you accomplish something,” Sirola said after the game. “…Nobody else stayed as long at ORU as I did and had as many wins as I have. It’s flattering. Hopefully there is going to be more.”
“It’s so important,” said Sara Pope. “I’m so happy for her. She really deserves it and I couldn’t imagine a better coach to give it to. It’s huge. Winning a game is great enough but especially for our coach, a 200th win is so important.”
Pope said Sirola’s communication is what makes her a great coach.
“She knows how to talk to her players,” said Pope. “She really pushes us to be the best. She pushes us to our limits and makes us come together as a team. She’s really like the quarterback of the team.”
The first set was highlighted by a 7-1 run which propelled the Golden Eagles to a comfortable win in the most uneven score of the match. Neither team won by more than four points in any of the remaining sets.
SFA used excellent serving and strong blocking to win the second and third sets but ORU was able to grab a two point fourth set win to tie the match.
“It was nerve-racking,” Sirola said. “I don’t know how the fans actually…stay all [game]. [I] was a nervous wreck. Especially in the second and third games when you see your team going down.”
ORU opened the fifth and final set with an 8-5 lead but soon trailed 10-13, only two points from losing the match. The Golden Eagles rallied to win five consecutive points and win the match.
“I don’t think anybody ever doubts we’ll win,” Pope said. “We were all rooting for each other. Our teammates are great and we pulled it through.”
Sirola said after the game that ORU’s passing during the second and third sets was not at the level it should have been.
“We are going to work on the passing and serve,” Sirola said. “If we work on those two places, we are going to win. Our passing and serving always gets us a [win] and we are going to practice more and just get ready for [the next match].”
Laura Taylor had 55 assists in the victory, tying a career high. Bruna Silva had a season high 36 digs.
The team was led offensively by Sara Pope, who had 19 kills, and McKenna Qualls, who had 15. ORU’s 72 kills as a team is the most they have had this season.
ORU is now 5-0 in conference play and 13-2 overall.
The Golden Eagles will be at home again for their next match on Saturday against another Southland Conference opponent, Northwestern State. First serve in the Aerobics Center is at 2 p.m.