Volleyball swept by Milwaukee in clash of Horizon League titans


Sophie Hume

Kerra Cornist and Jamie Walling go for a block against Milwaukee on Oct. 7.

The Oakland University volleyball team fell to the Milwaukee Panthers in straight sets last Thursday. Milwaukee came into the match undefeated in conference play at 4-0, while the Grizzlies were 3-1 coming in. This was a tough test for both teams early in the conference schedule. 

The first set was back and forth, starting with a 9-9 tie. Just when it seemed like one team was taking control, the other would come roaring back. 

The set was tied at 18 when Milwaukee put up consecutive points to force a Grizzlies’ timeout. Two more Milwaukee points forced another timeout. The Grizzlies responded with two points of their own, forcing a timeout from the Panthers. You could feel the tension in the O’rena during this highly contested first set.

In the end, it was the Panthers who would take the set 25-21. 

Heading into the second set, the game remained highly contested. Milwaukee started on a 3-0 run, then the Grizzlies came back to tie. 

Milwaukee then forced a Grizzlies’ timeout after four straight points to take an 11-8 lead. That didn’t seem to do much, as Milwaukee put up three straight following the timeout. 

After Oakland started a little run of their own, Milwaukee could sense danger — so they took a timeout. 

The match remained highly contested deep into the second set, with the Panthers holding a 19-17 advantage. But again, the Grizzlies just didn’t have enough in this set. Milwaukee would take set two 25-23. 

Milwaukee’s strong play continued into the third set, where they got off to a 9-4 lead to force a Grizzlies’ timeout. It just seemed like they were always one step ahead of Oakland. 

Head Coach Rob Beam said most of the problems for the Grizzlies revolved around execution.

“That’s basically the game from a coaching standpoint is to empower the athletes to be on assignment correct and [to go after it],” Beam said. “I thought [Milwaukee] did a great job and I think there are places where we played well. Our athletes did a really good job but especially [in] the third set, we just didn’t do any of the things that we were trying to get done, and we’ve got to correct them.”

The Panthers would take the third set pretty handily, and sweep the match. Beam said the team has to move on from this game considering the tough conference schedule.

“I think there’s a lot of volleyball left to play,” Beam said. “The secret is gonna be with the density of the scheduling, we’ve got to be able to rebound and play another good team tomorrow night. This one’s all the way done, we can’t control it. Maybe we can learn a lesson that we can apply to how we come out tomorrow. But other than that, we just got to get ready for UIC.”

Beam continued to say there are many things that the team needs to work on.

“I think there were spaces where we played really well,” Beam said. “Then when we didn’t defend the court, maybe we missed out on some opportunities for block scheming, and then ultimately like we’ve got to serve a pass more accurately and more efficiently. I think we were chasing points a lot tonight, and then they [executed]. I think we gave up 22 more points in the kill category than we scored and that’s not going to get it done so we’re gonna have to do a better job preparing our athletes giving them opportunities to score and be successful.”