OU loses quarterfinal match to end season

Jake Alsko

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Women’s volleyball fell to sixth-seed Cleveland State 3-1 Friday, Nov. 22 in their quarterfinal matchup of the Horizon League Tournament held in the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee. The Golden Grizzlies lost in set scores of 25-22, 22-25, 28-26 and 25-20.

Melissa Deatsch led the Grizzlies with a match-high 15 kills along with 12 digs, with Jessica Dood adding 13 kills of her own.

OU’s Taylor Humm finished with 21 digs, a team-best and only one less than Cleveland State’s Nikki Holmes who had 22. Also starring for the Grizzlies was Ciara Schultz who tallied 22 assists, while Alissa Valentine had 21. Brooke Wadsworth added eight blocks.

“While the outcome of this match was not what we wanted, this season was such a success,” OU head coach Rob Beam said. “We grew each week and absolutely performed to the best of our capabilities. This team was amazing to coach.”

The game marks the final game of seniors Alexis Rutter and Alissa Valentine’s careers with OU. The Grizzlies’ 2013 roster was a young one. Out of 16 players on the roster, only four were upperclassmen, with juniors Humm and Wadsworth being the other two.

Cleveland State took advantage of a four-point lead in the first set and never looked back, winning the set 25-22. The Vikings looked poised to win their second straight set, but a key kill by Wadsworth tied the set at 8-8 to keep the Grizzlies in it. OU then scrapped to a 25-22 set win, mirroring the first set to tie the match at 1-1.

The third set proved to be the turning point, as the Grizzlies blew a 19-15 lead, and then again at 24-20, finally losing in extra points to the Vikings 28-26.

OU held a 5-3 lead in the fourth and final set, only to be quickly erased by two straight Cleveland State kills to tie the match. The Grizzlies wouldn’t regain the lead for the remainder of the set.

OU battled late with four straight points to cut the Vikings lead to 23-19, only to allow Cleveland State to secure the set and the match with 25-20.

Including Friday’s loss, the Grizzlies overcame a rough first half of the regular season to finish 15-15 and an impressive 9-5 in regular season conference play. OU ended the regular season on a 7-1 run that included a five-game winning streak.