A record-setting 1,272 students, faculty and staff watched the ORU volleyball team improve to 8-6 in its sweep against Arkansas on Tuesday night. This was the team’s final non-conference match and the first at home this season.
The match didn’t disappoint as players from both teams flew through the air with high-speed serves and strong blocks and dove for loose balls. The Golden Eagles won all three matches (25-22, 25-21, 29-27) as fans chanted “O-R-U” while wearing neon yellow Game Day t-shirts.
“I think our bench was really awesome, but the crowd was absolutely amazing,” said junior middle blocker Shelby Cox. “We have never had anything like that. We really fed off the energy.”
Arkansas tried to keep up the entire night, even trying to come back in the final set by forcing three match point efforts, but ORU came out on top.
Head Coach Sheera Sirola is happy with the way the team bounced back after its rocky tournament at the University of Tulsa last Friday and Saturday.
“Last weekend, we would get down two or three points and then we would even up [the score], but we couldn’t close the game,” she said. “We harped on mental toughness the whole weekend and the girls finally executed.”
Junior Laura Milos led the team with 23 kills, her seventh match of the season with 20 or more, followed by Cox who posted 10. Lucija Bojanjac was another active force in the victory, providing 33 assists on the night.
“[Shelby and Laura] are our go-to players. They’ll bail us out in any situation,” Sirola said.
Service aces played a major role in the match; Milos posted four of the team’s eight, outscoring the entire Razorback team.
Milos was also named Summit League Offensive Player of the Week for the eighth time in her career, and the second time this season. Sirola thinks her energy on the court helps determine the outcome of the match.
“When she is on, when she is talking and she is communicating with the whole team, the team plays better,” said Sirola. “If she does not have that energy coming out of her, they’re not going to play well.”
Cox said the Golden Eagles will rest up this week and attempt to continue the energy from this match when they start Summit League action at North Dakota State today at 7 p.m. The team will return to the AC on Oct. 2 taking on the Omaha Mavericks.