For the second consecutive year, Oakland volleyball faced off against Bowling Green State University. The Golden Grizzlies came into the game looking to remain undefeated at home but fell just shy of their mark.
“I think there’s so much for us to build on,” head coach Rob Beam said. “It came down to those little execution errors at the end of fifth set… We have a really competitive group, they have a great energy and they’re good with feedback, giving it and taking it freely.”
The Golden Grizzlies started off the year with a 4-2 record after a 10-17 2018 campaign. They were coming off two wins at the CEFCU Bradley Invitational on Sept. 6-7. Before conference play, they’ll have one more tournament — the Colorado Classic — and a handful of single matches. Conference play begins Sept. 27 against Wright State.
After a first set where Oakland lost by three points, the team stepped up and rallied to take the second, but not without some resistance from Bowling Green. Oakland was left to gather and call a timeout to stop Bowling Green’s momentum while the Golden Grizzlies stalled on match point.
Much more back and forth scoring in the third set occurred, and it came down to a challenge call. Oakland had thought they extended the game on a tip ball that went out, but after a coach’s challenge by Bowling State, Bowling Green took the set.
Once going down 2-1, the team looked determined to win, which could be shown in the fourth set score. Not once in the set did Bowling Green take a lead. Throughout the fourth set, the team averaged a 36% hit percentage, easily coming out on top.
Since the match couldn’t be settled in four, it went to the extra fifth set. Unlike the first four sets that are played to 25, this set is played to 15 points. Oakland won a large challenge determining the ball was out leading to Oakland’s fifth point. Oakland fell behind 12-11 and called a timeout in the fifth set to gather themselves and that helped them take the lead. The score got to 13-13 until Bowling Green rattled off back-to-back points to win the match.
For the last two points in the match, Oakland couldn’t get any kills set up, as they were playing defense rather than offense.
Jamie Walling totaled 25 kills and Megan Hobler was effective guarding the net with 11 blocks. After the match, Walling was appreciative of the team effort from the Golden Grizzlies, but disappointed in the final result.
“It’s my teammates — I want to play for them and they make me look better,” Walling said. “You put everything into every game and when it doesn’t go your way, it really hurts.”