WAYLAND VOLLEYBALL: Down 2-0, Pioneers rally in Arkansas - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

WAYLAND VOLLEYBALL: Down 2-0, Pioneers rally in Arkansas

Source: Wayland Baptist Athletics Source: Wayland Baptist Athletics

Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. – A last-ditch pep talk helped the Wayland Baptist volleyball team rally from two sets down and defeat John Brown University in Sooner Athletic Conference play here Wednesday evening, 23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-12.

"It took a while, but we finally got things straightened out," Wayland coach Jim Giacomazzi said. "We were two or three points away from losing and I called timeout and told the girls, 'Hey, it's not over. You guys look like you're whipped puppy dogs. You have to think about winning.

"So they put their chins up and threw their shoulders back and went out and turned it around. We took a little bit of control over the match from then on."

After dropping the first two, Wayland (17-8, 10-1 SAC) trailed 22-20 in the third when Giacomazzi called his first timeout. That resulted in a kill by Megan Sharratt and an ace by Alex Wood to tie it. After JBU went back up by one, Giacomazzi called his second timeout.

The Pioneers, ranked the equivalent of 37th in the NAIA, came out of that and won three straight points – back-to-back kills by Katie Inman then, after JBU called its own timeout – an ace by Elisabeth Piroli to end it.

The Pioneers then fell behind by six points, 14-8, in the fourth set before Wayland ran off nine unanswered points – most the result of JBU errors – to again ward off elimination. An ace by Sharratt forced a fifth set, only the second time all season Wayland has gone the full five.

The Golden Eagles (14-10, 5-6) jumped out to a 4-1 lead when another timeout by Giacomazzi righted Wayland's ship. The Pioneers went on a 7-2 run to take an 8-6 lead, and they never trailed again.

With the score tied at 10, a JBU service error was followed by kills by Alex Wood and Inman. The Golden Eagles scored the next two to pull to within 13-12, but kills by Wood and Krista Epley gave the match to the Pioneers.

"We hit well in the fifth set and they didn't," Giacomazzi said of his team's 11 kill vs. one error and .400 hitting percentage vs. JBU's .167."It's not so much we won but the other team lost. We had to win the third set, then after that they pretty well did themselves in."

The Golden Eagles hit .167 for the match compared to Wayland's .155.

"We had too many hitting errors the first two sets (17). When we eliminate the miscues we can play with anybody," Giacomazzi said.

Wood finished with 18 kills, Ellis 15 and Sharratt (.292) nine. Rossanna Ramos finished with 35 digs, Inman had 11, and Wood, Jordan Breding and Piroli all had 10 each.  Piroli also had 36 assists while Riyana Rakrouki had 10.

The Pioneers got seven blocks, including three solo and one assist by Wood, along with eight aces, including three by Breding and two each from Wood and Piroli.

"A lot of those blocks came in the fourth and fifth sets," Giacomazzi said.

The win came much harder than the 25-23, 25-17, 25-19 victory over John Brown when the teams met in Plainview.

"They had some people back who were hurt at our place," Giacomazzi said.

Wayland also had Krista Epley back in the lineup for what Giacomazzi called her first significant playing time since being injured, although Epley had returned in WBU's previous match.

"It was nice to have a little bit more help in the middle because we've been wearing out Jessica (Stohlmann)," Giacomazzi said.

Wayland next takes a break from SAC play by competing in the Grand View Tournament this weekend in Des Moines. The Pioneers open that event at noon Friday against No. 5 Viterbo, Wisc. (21-2). They also play Huntington, Ind., at 5 p.m. Friday then on Saturday face defending national champion Columbia, Mo., ranked the equivalent of 32nd, at 10 a.m. then Bethel, Ind., at noon.

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