Oakland volleyball claims first-ever regular season Horizon League title

The Oakland University women’s volleyball team made history Friday night as they claimed their first-ever regular season Horizon League championship. They will play host to the league tournament this weekend.

Oakland (19-9, 11-2 Horizon) defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (15-13, 9-4) in five sets: 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 15-10. 

Melissa Deatsch led the way for Oakland with 19 kills, 10 digs and three blocks. She said that the team did not lose focus after dropping the first set because coming back strong is something that the team is used to doing.

“We’re used to losing the first set, it has kind of been a routine this whole year,” Deatsch said. “I think this team does a nice job of not losing focus and not getting discouraged; losing the first set only makes us believe more that we are going to win the second. We make sure that on our side of the court it feels like we have the momentum.”

Oakland rode that momentum for two sets and it even looked like they might pull away in the fourth, but the Panthers battled back to take it 25-23. UWM appeared to have taken the momentum right back from the Golden Grizzlies going into the fifth and final set, but sophomore Jessica Dood (who recorded 13 kills, three blocks, two digs) said that didn’t feel like the case.

“It was like we had the confidence and we are the number one team in the league so we need to start playing like we are the number one,” Dood said. “We wanted to play our game and we’re better when we are having fun.”

The victory gives Oakland the number one seed in next week’s Horizon League Tournament and it also means that the Golden Grizzlies will play host. Head coach Rob Beam said it is very important for his team to get the first round bye and also play in front of the enthusiastic Golden Grizzly fan base.

“The fan support here was phenomenal,” Beam said. “I think people are really excited about Oakland University and the things we are doing with our brand.”

The Horizon League tournament is set for Nov. 21-23 at the O’rena. Oakland will play in a semifinal match Saturday.