Women’s volleyball returns August 28

By Ally Racey

Oakland University volleyball is back and ready to claim a winning title once again.

After winning the Horizon League last season and making it to the NCAA tournament, the Golden Grizzles are projected to do the same this year with hopes of taking home the final win.

“It’s another opportunity to get better and perhaps reach newer opportunities,” head coach Rob Beam said.

Aug. 28 is the Golden Grizzlies first match against West Virginia at the University of Michigan and Sept. 24 is the first league match against Milwaukee Wisconsin in the O’rena.

This will be Beam’s ninth year coaching at Oakland. His team of new and returning players will be the first to play on the blacktop court with new lighting and sound.  

“It will be a great way to kick off the Horizon League play,” Beam said. “We get to renew the rivalry with the 2013 champion and then the team that we played in 2014 to win the championship ourselves.”

After finishing with a record of 22-10, the team said goodbye to seniors Taylor Humm and Brooke Wadsworth.

Freshmen Jordan Lentz and Jordan Massab are this seasons key newcomers.

Beam is eager to play the notable match-ups from last season once again. Teams that finished toward to bottom have new coaches that have had time to build their program and get their expectations where they want them.

“Those teams are on the rise for sure,” Beam said.

The teams that were competitive last year are expected to be even better this season.

”I think overall the Horizon League is going to be as talented and deep as it’s ever been,” Beam said. “This is just going to be a really fun, deep season.”

Beam added that because of the high-level competition, there is going to be more tough matches and possibly some upsets along the way, just because of the nature of how all the matches play out.

Beam thinks it will have some determining factor of who makes the conference tournament.

Senior Cassie Pelloni and redshirt sophomore Sammy Condon are this season’s top returners and are expected to once again lead their team to success.

“I think seniors are always good leaders,” Beam said. “Sometimes you have an idea of who your team leaders are or what those leaders offer, but then you’re always surprised in a good way as to who steps forward or who takes on the new role that a former senior embodied.”

The team looks strong and excited for their first match. Just like last season, every match has a theme.

The first game in the O’rena is a throwback night. Other themes include a blackout game, hometown heroes, service personnel ─ police officers, firemen, and all branches of the military ─ night, a Halloween game, breast cancer game with the Dig Pink Organization and a senior, parent and alumni night.

Dates for these events and other upcoming matches can be found on the Golden Grizzlies website at www.goldengrizzlies.com