No. 19 OBU volleyball squad outlasts Harding

Oklahoma Baptist Athletics
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
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SEARCY, Ark. –  The No. 19 Oklahoma Baptist volleyball team trailed 10-5 in the fifth before overcoming Harding on Saturday morning, winning 3-2 in Great American Conference play.

The Bison improved to 12-3 and 5-2 in conference play with the victory.

Harding's offense was in gear from the beginning. It raced out to a 10-5 lead on eight kills, three of which came to Skyler McKinnon. During the stanza, Harding hit .354 as a team and extended its lead to as many as eight points before prevailing 25-18.

The next two sets then favored the Bison.

OBU's defense was on point, holding the hosts to -0.063 and 0.14 attack percentages, respectively, in the second and third.

Audrey Poupard and Malia Leatherland each had multiple kills midway through the second during an 8-1 run for OBU. Their efforts in that run helped the Bison go up 20-12.  Leatherland had six kills and a couple block assists in the set.

Third-set action was closer, but the Bison ended up on top, 26-24. OBU felt some pressure late, as it was down 24-23 after a block by Cooper Monn and Kelli McKinnon. However, the next three points brought two big kills from Avery Hellmuth and a Harding error.

Down 2-1, Harding responded to tie the match. At the midway point, a Leatherland kill, one of her match-high 19, had the Bison down 13-12. What followed for Harding helped the hosts force a fifth set. Five straight points for Harding was ended by an ace from Amber Robin. That made the score 18-12 and then the closest OBU got the rest of the way was two, 20-18.

In the final set, the Bison stunned Harding with a late comeback. Down by five after a Libby Hinton kill, OBU scored four straight, with kills by Leatherland and Taneyah Brown. A couple sequences later, and trailing 12-9, the Bison sealed the deal. A Harding service error started a 6-0 run. That was followed up by a block from Poupard and D'Erricka Frierson before a couple more kills by Brown helped OBU secure the win.

Next on the schedule for Oklahoma Baptist is a Dig Pink home match on Friday at 5 p.m. against Arkansas-Monticello.