Volleyball breaks losing streak in 3-0 victory

Lauren Karmo, Managing Editor

After three straight losses, the Oakland University volleyball team rebounded, defeating Youngstown State in Horizon League play with a 3-0 win in the O’rena on Sunday, Nov. 3. Jaime Walling led the Golden Grizzlies with 13 kills and one ace to the team’s 15th straight victory over the Penguins. 

Notching 41 kills and only 10 hitting errors, the win improved Oakland’s overall record to 13-11 and 6-6 in the Horizon League. Recovering from Saturday’s loss against Cleveland State, the Golden Grizzlies went into the match with high energy and a positive attitude. 

“It’s really just about getting everybody back on the same page,” Head Coach Rob Beam said. “Obviously a tough loss last night where we didn’t play to our capability, so a lot of [our preparation] was just about getting the team to feel good and connect, and recenter their energy back onto their performance today. I thought they did a great job.”

Starting off the match was defensive specialist and libero Lindsay Wightman with the first serve. Scoring the first point, Oakland battled Youngstown to maintain a lead. After some back and forth, OU pulled ahead to win the first set by four points. 

“We played really well,” Beam said. “Defensively, we were really good, I thought our blockers did a great job adjusting throughout the course of the match. When Youngstown came out and played really well in the opening, I thought our team maintained their composure.”

The Penguins weren’t ready to back down, but the intensity and focus the Golden Grizzlies brought into the second set was unmatched. Though Youngstown was trying to maintain their composure, Oakland shut them down quickly, winning the set by 10 points. 

Going into the third set, OU’s confidence and dominance was growing. From the offensive end to the defensive, everything was going right for the Golden Grizzlies. 

Youngstown’s frustration got the best of them — allowing Oakland to pull ahead finishing off the match with a win by 13 points.

“Our team is a really tight-knit group of girls,” Wightman said. “We love each other and when we notice a good thing happening, we always cheer each other on. It’s great energy on the court.”

The energy on the court was instrumental to the success of the team. According to Wightman, the girls were able to step up to the task to get the best of their opponent. Defensively, OU finished the match with nine blocks and 62 digs. Offensively, they had 41 kills, four aces and 39 assists, securing the win over the Penguins. 

“When you’re consistent in the attack phase, you constantly pressure the opponent, and you’re digging and blocking the ball, it’s very difficult for the opponent to be comfortable,” Beam said. “I think we were able to, once we won the first set, to keep Youngstown off balance and put them on their heels.”

Up next, the Golden Grizzlies continue Horizon League play. They will face off against the Northern Kentucky Norse on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. at home. Later in the week, they will be traveling to Milwaukee to play the Panthers on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m..