Volleyball drops the ball in semifinals

Christian Miller, Staff Reporter

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Oakland volleyball fell to Cleveland State University (CSU) in the Horizon League Semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Woodling Gymnasium. After coming back from two sets down, the Golden Grizzlies could not clench the fifth set needed to win.

Melissa Deatsch recorded 15 kills, accompanied by 15 digs, two blocks and one service ace, giving her a hitting percentage of .317. Deatsch’s offensive efforts were complemented by 13 kills from Darien Bandel and 11 from Jessica Dood.

Defensively, Sammy Condon recorded a team-high five blocks, while Ali Gutschow led Oakland with 16 digs.

The first set of the match saw CSU come out strong, scoring four points in a row and forcing a timeout from Oakland. Returning, Dood put Oakland on the scoreboard 4-1 with a kill. From there, the teams traded one kill each, marking the game 5-2. Oakland continued to close the gap with an additional point attributed to a CSU service error, rounding the score off at 6-3.

Oakland continued to come from behind, managing to tighten the game to 16-13, but CSU maintained the advantage.

One service error and three attack errors on Oakland’s behalf gave CSU four consecutive points, marking the game 20-13. A kill from Condon interrupted the streak, but CSU initiated another successful streak of bombardments, taking the set 25-16.

The Golden Grizzlies continued to face difficulties in the second set.

Although Oakland seemed to be holding CSU, tying the game at both 5-5 and 6-6, the Vikings continued to chip away at the Golden Grizzlies.

The definitive moment of the set came when CSU regained the ball, raising the score to 11-8. CSU unleashed a slew of kills on Oakland, scoring six consecutive points and marking the set 17-8. Oakland, unable to surpass the deficit, relinquished the set to the Vikings, 25-14.

The Golden Grizzlies rallied in both the third and fourth sets of the match.

The third was narrowly taken by Oakland, 25-22. Oakland managed five consecutive points from the beginning and fortified the lead over CSU for the remainder of the set. The Golden Grizzlies’ success transferred to the next set.

Oakland took the fourth set 25-16. It seemed as if the Golden Grizzlies had found its niche on the court, accumulating multiple strings of consecutive points and sustaining a strong lead over CSU.

Oakland battled through the entirety of the fifth set, but it was ultimately taken by CSU, 15-11. The Golden Grizzlies had managed to tie the game 11-11, but a breakout from CSU finalized the match.

Oakland head coach Rob Beam offered his thoughts on the game and the season.

“This is a really special performance by our team,” Beam said in a GrizzVision interview. “It takes tremendous courage, conviction, belief, energy and passion to be able to come back two sets down. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Beam also recognized the leadership exhibited by the team’s senior members.

“It was a really special night, and unfortunately, five unbelievable women had their careers come to an end,” Beam said. “We’re all proud of [Reveley], [Grier], [Deatsch], [Dood] and [Gutschow]. They were unbelievable leaders for us, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”