Bison volleyball squad clinches GAC West

Oklahoma Baptist Athletics

DURANT – The No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist volleyball team got Southeastern Oklahoma State's A+ game on Friday evening inside the Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium, but the Bison found a way, defeating the Savage Storm in four sets, 25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23.

With the win, OBU won the Great American Conference Western Division outright and will be the No. 1 seed at the GAC Tournament in April.

OBU hit over .200 as a team for the third straight match as they finished with 56 kills to 17 errors while hitting .225. On the other end, Southeastern finished with an opponent-high 63 kills, but to 26 errors and a .190 hitting percentage.

The Bison won the match with a 12-7 advantage in blocks and a season-high 90 digs to Southeastern's 89. 

The winless Savage Storm gave OBU everything they could handle, but OBU showed why it is one of the top teams in the nation despite Southeastern's A+ game.

The Bison had 10 kills and only three errors while hitting .194 and holding the Savage Storm to .087 hitting including 10 errors to take set one 25-20. OBU used a five-point rally midway through the set and never looked back as strong offense and stellar blocking gave them the first set.

OBU had to play from behind in the next two sets. OBU trailed for much of the second set despite 17 kills to five errors in the set. Southeastern had an early 8-3 lead, but the Bison chipped away at the deficit throughout the set and eventually closed it with four straight points to win the set 25-21.

In the third set, Southeastern's attack was unbelievable as it went for 19 kills to only four errors and hit a set-high .300. OBU was good on its end with 13 kills to only three errors while hitting .233, but the Bison would drop set three to Southeastern, 25-22.

The Bison found themselves down in the fourth set by as many as six, falling behind 13-6 early in the set. OBU began to battle back and used a massive rally, scoring six out of seven points to get within two, but SE extended the lead to 18-13 and looked as though the match would move to five.

OBU scored four straight points to close it to within one at 20-19. After a Savage Storm point, OBU scored the next three on kills from Malia Leatherland and a solo block from Brenna Holley.

Southeastern evened the match at 23 before D'Erricka Frierson and Taneyah Brown slammed the door shut with back-to-back kills and the win. 

Leatherland finished with 16 kills on .250 hitting to go with 19 digs and three block assists while Frierson had a career-high 14 kills with two block assists. Brown added 11 kills and 11 digs while Avery Hellmuth had seven kills and seven block assists.

Kaylee Buell had 42 assists and four block assists while Diana Carranza picked up 29 digs. Kelsi Chavez added 11 off the bench while Holley had two block assists.

Aleksandra Rodic led Southeastern with 15 kills while Ruthie Forson had 50 assists. Grace Shehadeh added 35 digs.

OBU moved to 13-0 on the season and 8-0 in the GAC. The Bison will return to action on Tuesday at home as they welcome in East Central for a 7 p.m. first serve.