HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Bakersfield volleyball team battled and went undefeated at the James Madison Classic defeating both James Madison (24-26, 25-20, 25-14, 25-18) and Wyoming (25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 25-16) Saturday at the Sinclair Gymnasium in Harrisonburg, Va.

Molly O’Hagan (Jr., Tonganoxie, Kan., Tonganoxie HS) was named tournament MVP after tallying 45 kills, 17 blocks, and a .597 hitting percentage. Fernanda Gonçalves (Sr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska CC) (6 kills, 142 assists, and digs) and Mariah Alvidrez (R-So., Bakersfield, Calif., Liberty HS) (63 digs and 13 assists) were also selected to the all-tournament team.  

The ‘Runners undefeated run at the classic was the first time a CSUB (5-2) team swept a tournament on the road since 2005

Game #1 – Bakersfield 3, James Madison 1

The match started out tight for both teams but as Bakersfield gained momentum, the Roadrunners were able to keep James Madison at bay winning 3-1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-14, 25-18) behind the .643 hitting of O’Hagan. Similar to yesterday’s match, the ‘Runners kept JMU (1-4) to just a .195 average on the day.

Three players recorded double-digit kills while Debora Araujo (Sr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska CC) collected her fourth double-double and Gonçalves recorded her third double-double with 58 assists and 15 digs. O’Hagan recorded a season-high 19 kills while hitting with a .643 clip to take over the CSUB record for best hitting percentage in a four-set match.

Both teams were neck and neck throughout the first set with neither team taking lead higher than four. The Roadrunners would get within two multiple times but the Dukes were able push the lead back to four and at one point held a 21-16 lead. With JMU leading 23-18, CSUB went on a 6-1 run capped off by Gonçalves’ kill to knot things up at 24. James Madison however pulled away with the 26-24 first-set victory behind MacKenzie Kleespies back-to-back kills.

Like the first set, the second frame was even more intense with the match racking up 12 ties and five lead changes with the score at 13 all. JMU took a 16-13 lead after a CSUB timeout but the ‘Runners responded with a 7-2 run to take the 20-18 lead capped off by Araujo’s 10th kill. The Dukes were able to put two more scores on the board but O’Hagan slammed down three-straight kills as Bakersfield claimed the second set 25-20.

The Roadrunners slowly built up an early 10-5 lead in the third set before JMU was forced to call a timeout and regroup. A 7-1 run by CSUB later in the match saw Bakersfield its lead jump to 22-11 and the eventual 25-14 third set victory.

CSU Bakersfield again gained momentum slowly through the first half of the fourth set and used a 6-1 run to take a 16-10 advantage.  James Madison fought back but wasn’t enough as the trio of O’Hagan, Araujo and Kelsee Sawyer (So., Temecula, Calif., Great Oaks HS) combined for the last five kills for the 25-18 win.

Game #2 – Bakersfield 3, Wyoming 1

Bakersfield was able to play with poise despite hitting .143 as a team to defeat Wyoming, 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 25-16, Saturday evening at Sinclair Gym. Araujo slammed in 18 kills with 10 digs for her fifth double-double of the year while O’Hagan tallied 15 kills and Youngblood chipped in with 10. Three players recorded double-doubles for the Roadrunners in the win. Gonçalves served up 49 assist in set for CSUB and also added 10 digs.

Offensive errors hurt the Roadrunners in the first set but were able to claw back and knot the match up at 16 apiece.  Neither team looked in sync as both CSUB and UW (6-1) hit well under .200. Bakersfield however was able to rattle off two consecutive points to take the first set 25-23.

Both teams continued to struggle on the offensive end as 7-of-8 points scored to start the second frame came from offensive errors. With the match tied at 10 all, the hitting percentage for both squads were well into the negative. The Cowgirls started to find their rhythm and went on a 6-1 to take a 20-15 lead. Wyoming would not relinquish its lead and took the second set 25-19 despite hitting -.079 in the second set compared to CSUB’s -.098.

UW took a quick 4-0 lead to start the match but the Roadrunners answered with a 12-1 run of their own capped off by Araujo’s 11th kill to take a 15-7 lead. The Cowgirls continued to rally back to get within four at 20-16 and tied the match up at 21 all with a 5-1 run. With set point in the pivotal third frame the ‘Runners used a kill from Araujo and an attack error by UW’s Kayla Hendreson to win the third set 25-23.

With momentum heading into fourth frame, CSUB went on a 12-2 run to take an early 13-4 lead over Wyoming.  During that stretch, Bakersfield was hitting .500 as a team compared to UW’s .000 hitting percentage. Bakersfield fended off a couple surges by the Cowgirls and held on for the 25-16 win and 3-1 victory.

"We took great strides today as a team," said Bakersfield head coach Jolene Shepardson. "We played hard and responded immediately when both JMU and Wyoming put pressure on us or we made an error. I am proud of how our players showed great competitive habits this weekend."

~www.GoRunners.com~