SUU almost came back to capture the first set as the Thunderbirds surrendered the opening point of the match and trailed through most of the opening stanza. A late T-Bird rally tied the set at 22-22, but a pair of points by the Golden Eagles gave the home team a 24-22 set point.
Southern Utah answered with back-to-back kills by Analaine Pelaez and then secured a set point of its own, 25-24. However, a three-point push by ORU down the stretch sealed the stanza for the Golden Eagles 27-25.
SUU tied the match at 1-1 with a victory in the second set. The Thunderbirds only trailed twice during the frame after a pair of ORU errors gave Southern Utah a 2-0 lead to begin the set. Two more attacking errors by the Golden Eagles gave the T-Birds the 25-21 victory.
Oral Roberts led by as much as eight early in the third set and finished the set with a nine-point cushion, 25-16, hitting .429 to take a 2-1 lead. The match looked like it would be pressed to five sets as the Thunderbirds lead through most of the fourth until the Golden Eagles tied the set 16-16.
ORU then took the lead 19-16 as the team finished an 8-1 run with a kill by Joana Gruber. Southern Utah tied the match at 19-19, 21-21 and 22-22, but just couldn't get over the hump and fell 25-23 on a final Anna Rossi kill.
Pelaez led all hitters with 22 kills, tallying almost half of SUU's total of 45. Tatum Fredeen led Oral Roberts with 15 kills, but it was the Golden Eagle defense that tallied 73 digs to Southern Utah's 59 that proved to be the difference.
The Thunderbirds will look to snap out of its losing funk Saturday night when the team plays at Centenary at 6:00 p.m. (MT).