Volleyball loses fifth straight, stumbles into conference tournament


Anna Drumm

The volleyball team in a huddle after losing a point against Northern Kentucky on Nov. 13.

Reece Taylor, Sports Reporter

The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies Volleyball team lost their final game of the season to the Northern Kentucky University Norse on Saturday at the O’Rena.

Oakland, who dropped its fifth game to close out the season, finishes with a 15-14 record, good for 6th place in the Horizon League conference standings. In their final game, the Golden Grizzlies saw both dramatic moments and levity for the final home game of the season.

In the first set, Northern Kentucky jumped out to an early lead, at one point up by five, until Oakland tied the score at 13 all. After several score changes, a controversial call reversal led to some dead time. Spirits were high in the O’Rena as both teams had an impromptu dance off as referees discussed a challenge. Following this moment, the Golden Grizzlies went on an 8-2 run to take the first set 25-22.

In set two, Oakland showed their aggression by attacking and got an early 13-9 lead, which they held until match point, where Northern Kentucky tied the score at 24. Oakland had several opportunities to put the game away in set points, but ultimately fell to Northern Kentucky 28-26, tying sets at one apiece.

Set three was a major momentum swing as both Oakland and Northern Kentucky traded scores back and forth until a quick run by the latter put them up 15-10. Oakland fought back into the game after being down by eight, and came within six at 19-13 before a controversial call reversal put Northern Kentucky up 20-12, and went on a 5-1 run after to close the set 25-13. Northern Kentucky was up 2-1 in sets.

In the final set of Oakland’s regular season, the Golden Grizzlies once again found themselves on the end of an overturned call, changing the score from 6-5 to 7-4. Oakland was unable to regain footing after this, going down by as much as six before ending the game on a challenge at 24-19, which resulted in a standing call, which allowed Northern Kentucky to win the set 25-19, and win in sets 3-1.

Though Oakland closed the season with a five game losing streak, the Golden Grizzlies still ended the regular season with a 15-14 record and the No. 6 seed in the quarterfinals, where they face off in a rematch against the No. 3 seed Wright State University Raiders, who finished the season 22-7. The winner of this game, which takes place on Friday, Nov. 19, will face the hosting 1st seeded University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers on Nov. 20. 

Even with stumbling into the playoffs, Oakland finds itself in a favorable position as they battle Wright State. Oakland broke it’s winless set streak against them and can use that boost to propel them into contention against the Panthers. With the regular season drawing to a close, the Horizon League tournament could be the jolt needed to wake up the Golden Grizzlies.