OBU volleyball team wins five-set thriller to stay unbeaten

The Shawnee News-Star

The 11th-ranked Oklahoma Baptist volleyball team was battled and tested all night Tuesday against a game Northwestern Oklahoma State squad, but found a way as it erased a 2-1 deficit to take a thrilling five-set match over the Rangers, 25-18, 18-25, 23-25, 25-14, 15-12.

The Bison finished with 56 kills to only 19 errors while hitting .193. Northwestern had 60 kills to 37 errors while hitting .108. OBU had a 4-3 advantage in aces while Northwestern had a 56-50 edge in assists and a 68-60 advantage in digs.

The stat of the night was OBU's middles as the Bison held a dominating 22-6 edge in blocks.

The Bison only had nine kills in the first set, but forced the Rangers into 10 errors as a rally that included five out of six points to the Bison, pushed a 14-9 lead in favor of OBU. 

Leading by three later in the set, the Bison again rattled off five of six points to take a 22-16 lead and eventually push that to 25-18 win and a 1-0 advantage.

The Rangers responded and were game to roll with the nationally-ranked Bison on this day as their attack exploded for 14 kills in the second set and 17 kills in the third set to take a 25-18 and 25-23 win and a 2-1 lead on the road.

The third set was highly contested with both teams finished with 17 kills while hitting above .200, but the Rangers found a way to steal the set and had upset on the brain.

OBU squandered the match ending early quickly in set four, hitting .226 in the set with 11 kill to -.049 from Northwestern. The Bison used an eight point rally to put set four away that included four blocks from the lines of Taneyah Brown and Julia Brinton to pull away and put the set away, forcing a fifth and final set.

The two teams battled back-and-forth in the early goings as the set was tied at six before back-to-back kills from Taryn Weber gave OBU an 8-6 lead. The Bison maintained that two-point lead for most of the set before a kill by Malia Leatherland pushed it to three.

The Bison closed the match with a block from Brown and Avery Hellmuth to take the match 15-12 and win their seventh consecutive GAC match and their eight straight match inside the Noble Complex.

Leatherland finished with 12 kills and a .214 hitting percentage while Brown added 10 kills. Weber picked up nine kills while hitting .320. Brinton added eight kills in three sets. Kaylee Buell added 46 assists on the night while Leatherland had a pair of service aces.

Defensively, Diana Carranza led OBU with 13 digs while Leatherland and Kelsi Chavez each added 11. 

Brown was unbelievable, finished with 12 block assists while Brinton had eight including two block solos. Buell and Hellmuth each added five block assists while Audrey Poupard had four.

OBU moved to 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the GAC. The Bison will return to action on Friday as part of their three-game home stand as they welcome in Southwestern Oklahoma State for GAC play beginning at 5 p.m.