Volleyball boosting league record, beats Milwaukee in five sets


Bohdanna Cherstylo

Oakland volleyball is now ranked #3 on the Horizon League standings.

Oakland women’s volleyball (14-8, 6-2) tamed the Milwaukee Panthers (10-8, 4-3) in the fifth set of the Oct. 14 game in the O’rena.

Sammy Condon made 17 kills, a career high, put up a hitting percentage of .429 and got seven blocks assists and four digs.

Krysteena Davis contributed 10 block assists, a season high, and tied for ninth in program history for a single match.

The Golden Grizzlies as a team recorded a season high of 17 blocks.

Milwaukee took the first set 25-20. Oakland was unable to overcome a deficit accumulated midway through the set.

Not shaken, Oakland countered the Milwaukee advance by winning the second set 25-18. It was then that the Golden Grizzlies found their momentum.

Entering the third set, Oakland exploited weaknesses that had been identified in the Milwaukee defense. The teams had been trading points, tying at 12, but the breakout came after Oakland had regained possession and defensive specialist Alli Gutschow was serving.

The Golden Grizzlies gathered seven points through kills, Milwaukee errors and a block, making the set 20-12. Milwaukee took two timeouts to reconfigure strategy, one during the streak and one after.

Although the Panthers were able to interrupt Oakland’s scoring run, Milwaukee relinquished the third set 25-15.

The fourth set saw intense competition. Milwaukee needed to clinch it to stay alive. It was 2-1 Oakland.

Oakland took the first point, but Milwaukee was quick to answer with one of its own.

Two kills by Jessica Dood sent Oakland forward 3-1 before Milwaukee interjected. The attempt was short-lived, and the Golden Grizzlies quickly kept the pressure on. An additional kill from Dood returned the ball to Oakland.

Two attack errors on Milwaukee’s part gave Oakland a 6-2 lead and forced a Panther timeout. Oakland garnished one more point before Milwaukee regained the ball.

The play mimicked that of the first set, except this time the Golden Grizzlies managed to maintain a slight lead. The match seemed all but won as Oakland made it 23-21, but the Panthers rallied.

Milwaukee narrowly took the fourth set 25-23 after scoring four consecutive points.

Oakland’s communication on the court led to a 15-6 win over Milwaukee in the fifth set.  

“I think you can see when we are communicating well when we really take off,” outside hitter Melissa Deatsch said. “I think you saw in the first set us just expecting things to go our way and not really working for it. Once we realized we had to put in the work and communicate, we were able to get a rhythm going.”

Oakland head coach Rob Beam echoed Deatsch’s comments.

“I think that there were points of the match where our communication was extremely good, and the entire time in the fifth, set they were working together well,” Beam said. “When we do it, we’re really efficient, we’re really smooth together, and we flow.”

Beam also stressed the importance of staying ahead of opposition.

“It’s the point in the year where we know more about our opponents, and that has to translate into the practice gym,” Beam said. “Changing how we practice is going to help energize the group as we go forward.”

The Golden Grizzlies will next face Green Bay on the road Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. ET.