Oakland takes down Central Michigan in volleyball season opener


“To beat (CMU) in four is outstanding for a new team with fresh players and huge intensity,” Team Captain Taylor Humm said. “It was just wonderful. A great win.”

Cassie Pelloni racked up 14 kills, and Mary Grassano tallied 13 digs for Oakland as the Golden Grizzlies defeated in-state rival Central Michigan in the O’rena Friday, earning OU’s first victory of the Golden Grizzlies Invitational, as well as the season.

The Grizzlies won the match in four hard-fought sets with finals of 16-25, 26-24, 25-22 and 25-21.

“Central Michigan’s a fantastic volleyball program. They’ve been one of the top, really the first-class program in the MAC the last few years,” OU head coach Rob Beam said. “So obviously to open the season with them as an in-state rival, and to get a win in front of a great home crowd, certainly feels really good for all of us.”

OU team captain Taylor Humm, who notched nine kills, shared her coach’s sentiment. “To beat (CMU) in four is outstanding for a new team with fresh players and huge intensity,” Humm said. “It was just wonderful. A great win.”

As the season begins, Beams puts competitiveness on the same plane as scouting and preparation in terms of winning matches.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is very technical, and obviously early in the year, all the parts aren’t going to be there,” Beam said. “Central’s a tough team for us to open the season with just because of the nature of the way they play, but we’ve got to be crisper on offense, and I think defensively we’ve got to make more touches and be a little braver.”

“We’re going to carry over the intensity and clean up our play,” Humm said. And then with that, we’re going to go into Villanova … just fighting every point, we fight for every single point no matter what the outcome is.”

The Grizzlies will take on both Villanova and Oregon State today at noon and 7 p.m. in the O’rena, with some adjustments in mind.

“As a coaching staff we’re going to get together and talk about some strategies,” Beam said. “I was really impressed with both Villanova and Oregon State. Very different teams but both attack you and defend really well and I think we’re going to have to match that.”

Regardless of the results, Humm knows the team will handle the situation accordingly.

“From every tournament we take what we need to learn, implement it in practice, and then bring it to the next game,” Humm said. “We focus on getting better every single day because you can either get better or you can get worse. It’s (our) choice. And we choose to get better.”

Following today’s games, the OU volleyball team will be on the road until an Oct. 4 Horizon League matchup versus Youngstown at 5 p.m.