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Sat, Sep. 9, 2017 - [Volleyball]

GOODWELL, Okla. – The Mid-America Christian University volleyball team had their chances to take their first Sooner Athletic Conference victory of 2017 on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Evangels took the first two sets at SAC newcomer Oklahoma Panhandle State University, but in the end, the Lady Evangels fell short of the mark.

MACU (1-6, 0-2 SAC) won the first two sets and held a 7-2 lead early in the fourth set, but the Lady Evangels were unable to hold off the Aggies as Panhandle State (4-5, 2-0 SAC) rallied to take the match in five sets, 19-25, 24-26, 25-12, 25-23, 15-9.

MACU raced out to a 9-3 lead in the first set, and they never looked back. Senior Erika Brown had five kills in the stanza, and the Lady Evangels attacked the ball at a .333 clip on their way to a 25-19 set victory. Laurel Church took center stage in set two, pounding seven kills, and she and Mary Seifert combined on a block to end the set with a 26-24 win that put MACU up 2-0 in the match.

MACU struggled in the third set, recording only three kills, while OPSU notched 13 kills and hit .458 to extend the match with a 25-12 set victory. After falling behind 7-2 in the fourth set, the Aggies answered with a 7-2 run to tie the score at 9-9, and they took the lead for good in the frame at 16-15, holding off a late MACU rally to take the set 25-23 and force a decisive fifth set. MACU again surged early in the 5th frame, building a 4-1 lead, but again OPSU came from behind. With the set tied at 7-7, Quiara Poindexter of OPSU recorded a kill to trigger the side change, and OPSU won seven of the final nine points to take the set 15-9 and the match 3-2.

Church finished with 14 kills, and Brown narrowly missed double figures with nine and added five blocks. Melissa Hoppal had a double-double with 33 assists and 13 digs, Gabrielle Poling notched 17 digs, and Dianne Walter had four blocks as well. The Lady Evangels had 10 blocks in the match as a team, but none of those 10 came in the decisive fifth set.

MACU will return to the Oklahoma City area, but they will remain on the road on Tuesday night when they head to nearby Moore, Oklahoma to take on the Randal University Saints (7-6) on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.