Oklahoma Baptist thrashes Southern Nazarene in GAC Volleyball first round

Oklahoma Baptist Athletics
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Oklahoma Baptist's Taryn Weber (5) celebrates with teammates Kaylee Buell (19) and Taneyah Brown (2) during GAC Tournament action Thursday in Hot Springs, Ark.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Taryn Weber was electric on Thursday night as she tallied a career-best 18 kills with another personal best in attack percentage (.538) during Oklahoma Baptist’s 3-0 win over Southern Nazarene in the Great American Conference Tournament quarterfinal round.

Top-seeded OBU improved to 22-3 with the win and moved onto the semifinals where it was set to play Harding in the semifinals Friday night. Harding knocked off East Central in five sets, 3-2.

Weber set the tone from the beginning with eight kills in the first as the Bison handled the Crimson Storm 25-18, 25-19 and 25-14. The green and gold held SNU to a .086 attack mark while hitting .309 themselves.

Midway through the first, OBU led 12-11 before a 7-2 run helped the team take control. Weber notched two kills in that stretch while GAC Player of the Year Malia Leatherland added three more. OBU was extremely efficient in the first, hitting .341 with just three errors.

In the second, Taneyah Brown had the hot hand early. The Bison raced out to a 6-0 lead as Brown had a trio of kills and a block assist with Audrey Poupard. Southern Nazarene then nearly rallied back.

Down 19-10 following another Weber kill, the eighth-seeded team scored six unanswered which forced an OBU timeout. That break in the action worked for the Bison. Over the next nine serves, OBU scored six points which included a couple of kills by Leatherland, an ace from Kaelyn Ina and a block assist from Leatherland and Avery Hellmuth.

The final set was dominated by the Bison. Defensively, the green and gold held SNU to a -0.059 attack percentage and allowed only five kills. Like the first, OBU led 12-11 before pulling away. Seven of the team’s final 13 points came courtesy of SNU errors. Poupard, Weber and Hellmuth all registered blocks while there were a couple kills from Kaylee Buell and Hellmuth.

In addition to Weber’s 18 kills, Leatherland notched another double-double with 14 kills and 16 digs. Buell added 37 assists, plus senior libero Diana Carranza tied for the match high with 17 digs.