Volleyball down in three sets on Senior Night


Elyse Gregory

Seniors Rachel Grier, Melissa Deatsch, Breanne Reveley, Jessica Dood and Allie Gutschow get honored at the volleyball game Saturday night at the O’rena.

It was a case of the Senior Night jitters. Oakland volleyball (18-10, 10-4), which sits at No. 2 in the Horizon League standings, dropped a match in three sets to No. 1 Cleveland State (21-4, 12-1) on Saturday, Nov. 5, in the O’rena. The scores were 25-16, 25-14, 25-17.

The Golden Grizzlies said farewell to defensive specialist Alli Gutschow, outside/right-side hitter Breann Reveley, right-side hitter/setter Jessica Dood, outside hitter/defensive specialist Rachel Grier and outside hitter Melissa Deatsch. These five make up almost a third of the 16-woman roster.

“The seniors have done a spectacular job,” Oakland head coach Rob Beam said. “This group, even right now, is going to be the winning-est group that we’ve ever had in the history of the program.”

Still, perhaps the fanfare before the game wasn’t the best thing for their performance.

“Events and things like this, programming like this, tends to either cause people to play much better than their average, or sometimes it could be a distraction and cause people to be less attentive or less engaged than they could have been,” Beam said. “Maybe that’s it. I also think [CSU is] just really good.”

Deatsch said the team overloaded itself.

“We just tried to do too much,” she said. “We were too energetic, too amped up. Everyone wanted to give something for their seniors, and it backfired on us in a way. We just needed to play like us.”

Dood led the Golden Grizzlies with eight kills, followed by Deatsch with seven. Setter/right-side hitter Jordan Lentz got four kills and 21 of the team’s 26 assists. Deatsch led the team with nine digs, followed by Gutschow with seven.

“This is an incredibly dynamic group of seniors,” Beam said. “They’ve been very engaged across every activity here at Oakland . . . They do so many things. It was great to see a lot of their friends and family and other fans and other students just come out to support them on their senior night.”

One loss doesn’t erase that.

“This is one match,” Beam said. “If the season was over [because of a loss], Cleveland State would have packed it in six weeks ago when we beat them in five.”

It was a No. 1 and No. 2 matchup.

“These are two really good volleyball teams,” Beam said. “You play a hundred matches, we’re going to each win 50. We just got to learn from it, so that we can try to tip the scales a little bit in our favor as we go forward and look to play them in the championship tournament.”

Even though the Golden Grizzlies lost in three sets, hearing the bench (which was standing) and crowd cheering after every point was motivating for the team.

“We’ll have a senior brunch and a celebration of their careers tomorrow, but then we got to get back to work,” Beam said.

They have a saying.

“‘1-0 on gameday’ is what we say,” Reveley said. “Just one game at a time.”

The loss is fuel, according to Gutschow.

“You don’t want to anger a grizzly bear,” she said.

Oakland plays at Valparaiso at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.