The Golden Eagle volleyball team struggled early against Western Illinois, but rallied to win the last two sets pushing them past the Leathernecks, 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 25-16, 15-6.
The team is now 11-10 overall and 5-3 in conference play.
“They did not play well in the first, second or third set,” said Head Coach Sheera Sirola. “But, I would definitely say that in the fourth and fifth set, we came back on fire and we finally figured out our passing and serving. I think that is why we got the victory.”
Bojanjac offered 40 assists and six digs while Milos posted her eighth double-double on the season with 26 kills and 11 assists.
“[Laura] kept her cool all five sets and I think she did well,” she said. “I think Lucija couldn’t get herself together for the first two sets. I think sitting the third set out and making her see what is going on from the outside in, she came in [the fourth and fifth sets] and took care of business.”
Western Illinois, although ranked last in the Summit League preseason poll, hit .60 or higher in the first three sets, capping at .78 in the second.
“They came out and weren’t discouraged and kept on fighting,” said Sirola. “If you look on their roster, they have eight freshmen. Half of those freshmen, if not more, were playing today and I applaud them for that.”
Both teams faced service errors early in the first set, but ORU managed to finish with a .71 hitting percentage in the fifth and .58 overall.
“I’m hoping to go forward, but you know, we have two crucial injuries. We have two starters out,” Sirola said. “One is out for the season and the other should come back in the next week or two. That will help us out a lot on the back row. But we’re training the freshmen as fast as we can and trying to teach them how to work under pressure. I think we should be fine.”
Sophomore Maggie DiPronio should return just in time to finish off conference play and junior Nika Mostahinic will be out the rest of the season.
The Golden Eagles will continue conference action on Friday, Oct. 23 at the Aerobics Center against South Dakota at 7 p.m.