Ranger volleyball thwarted by young Harding team

 

November 24, 2019



HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Second seed Northwestern Oklahoma State dropped a heartbreaker against Harding University this Friday afternoon after leading 2-0 through the first two sets. A young Harding squad battled back and took the last three including the tiebreaker to take the match and move onto the championship match [25-20, 25-21, 13-25, 16-25, 10-15]. Every match was a gritty battle with 21 different tied scores and 11 different lead changes.

Senior Kiauna Clark finished her senior year with a bang as she earned 17 kills throughout the match as well as a .297 hit percentage. She finished the season incredibly close to the single season hit record with a total tally of 373 kills on her senior year. Jennifer Eubanks finished her senior season just as hot as she finished with the second-best career number of kills at 1,096. She finished the set with an astounding .320 hit percentage and ten kills, as well as a team leading five blocks.

Kaydee Honeycutt also earned double digits with 10 kills and also led the team with 29 digs. Kaitlyn Robinson led the team with 39 assists of the team’s 44 on the night. In the fourth set of the match Robinson was able to earn her 1,000th assist this season which breaks the current NWOSU single season assist record that was held by Suka Tafao at 969.

It was a back and forth battle early through the set as neither team could not seem to pull away for more than two points at a time. Once the Harding pulled to a 17-19 lead it was all history from there. The Rangers came back screaming as they went on an eight to one run for the last points of the set with some tough serving from Miller and a final slam from Deterding. The Black-and-Red snatched the first set 25-20.

The Rangers continued their attacking in the second set with a 61% attack percentage through the set to Harding’s 52%. Once Northwestern had the lead, they never let go Clark had four kills all to herself in the second set, and a final kill from Honeycutt secured the set win 25-21.

The Bisons came rallying back in the beginning of the third set and took advantage of some uncommon Ranger miscues. A rhythm could not be found with the Rangers serve-receive which led to a tough set loss with a score of 13-25.

The fourth set had the Bisons riding the momentum in as they jumped to an early lead. A large eight-point run gave Harding a tough 9-20 lead. The Rangers rallied back with a five-point run of their own on back-to-back kills from Kate Deterding but it was not enough as they took the loss 16-25 and headed into the tiebreaker set.

The fifth set was a gritty one to begin with. The Bisons were able to take the lead early but a huge kill from Clark rallied the Rangers and gave them momentum to take an 8-6 lead going into the switch. Once the teams settled on their new sides the Bisons took over from their as they outscored Northwestern 9-2. A final kill secured the win for Harding 10-15, and ended the Ranger’s spectacular season.

The Rangers finished their season with an astounding record of 23-11 and ended 12-4 in conference play. They were the programs first 20+ win record, and the first team in school history to earn a 10+ conference record since joining the GAC. The Black-and-Red were also the first team in program history to win a post-season game and it was the first time in program history that two players made first-team all-conference in Eubanks and Clark. An astounding year for the program and Northwestern.

 

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