NATCHITOCHES – Stacey DiFrancesco and Keelie Arneson set the pace for the Northwestern State volleyball team as the Lady Demons took down Southland Conference foe Oral Roberts 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.
The 25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 27-25 win improved NSU's record to 12-6 overall and 4-2 in Southland play while ORU dropped to 6-11, 2-4.
"I really liked the way we responded to a pretty disappointing loss on Thursday," said Lady Demon co-head coach Hugh Hernesman. "It doesn't surprise me because I think we are a competitive group and we don't like to lose but we also see the big picture."
DiFrancesco landed a game-high 21 kills for the Lady Demons' offense while also registering nine digs.
"After Thursday night's match we talked about needing to be more aggressive," said Hernesman. "Stacey needed this for herself and after she had 12 kills in the first two sets I felt like I saw her getting her rhythm back and her and Sweet were connecting a lot better."
Caiti O'Connell chipped in nine kills, five coming in the fourth set.
Arneson controlled the defensive aspect of the game, digging up a season-high 30 balls. Arneson also served up four aces for NSU.
"This was a battle with two defensive teams and two great liberos," said Hernesman. "Keelie really sets the tone for our team defensively and I think the other girls follow her lead. Right now she has a very good understanding of what we are doing defensively."
The first set started off competitive with three ties before the four point mark. An ORU attack error led to a 7-0 run for Northwestern State, putting the score at 10-3. The Golden Eagles attempted to fight back but could not close the gap and NSU won the set 25-18.
Both teams came out strong in the second set, tying the game up eight times before either team hit the 10 point mark. The set remained close until an ORU service error at the 16-16 mark sparked a 5-0 run for NSU. The Lady Demons took a 21-16 lead and kept their lead through the end, winning 25-18.
Oral Roberts started off hot in the third set, taking an 8-0 lead early on. Northwestern State attempted to shrink the deficit but their efforts were unsuccessful as they were not able to take the lead. The Lady Demons dropped the third 25-21.
The fourth set was the most competitive of the four, resulting in 16 ties and five lead changes. The Golden Eagles started the game looking great as they took a 4-1 lead but the Lady Demons fought back and took their first lead of the set at the 12-11 mark.
NSU was able to maintain their lead until an ORU service ace gave the Golden Eagles an 18-17 advantage. Northwestern State led again after a service error by Oral Roberts put the score at 19-18. The end of the game was a back and forth battle but the Lady Demons ended up on top, winning the set 27-25.
Northwestern State goes on the road next week as they match up against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday and Sam Houston State on Saturday. The Lady Demons return home on Thurs. Oct. 11 to play Southeastern Louisiana.