OU loses two five-set heartbreakers

The women’s volleyball team had an up-and-down road trip, losing two games in five sets.

The Golden Grizzlies lost a grueling five set match to Loyola Friday, then beat Chicago State in straight sets Saturday morning before suffering another five-set loss to Iowa later that night.

OU now has a 5-4 record this season, and will now prepare for Summit League match-ups.

According to OU’s athletics site, Rob Beam, head coach said that the Grizzlies weren’t as sharp against Loyola as they would have liked.

“We were able to extend the match to the fifth set, but we never really got into a rhythm,” Beam said.

The team was much sharper against Chicago State, a team OU swept for the second straight season.

The Grizzlies displayed their dominance in this match as only two players from Chicago State recorded as many as eight kills during the match.

OU in its final match of the tournament, lost  a close one to Iowa in five sets.

Beam, according to OU’s athletics website, was proud of the team’s performance despite the loss.

This is because Iowa is in the Big Ten, one of the top conferences in the NCAA.

“I was glad to see our level of play elevate against a quality opponent,” Beam said.

Allison Bell, senior, and Alli Kirk, junior were both named to the All-Tournament Team after their performance.

Bell was the dominant player for the Grizzlies throughout the Hawkeye Challenge.

In the tournament, she recorded 49 total kills including 20 against Loyola and a career-high 21 against Iowa, both team highs for those matches.

Defensively, Bell had 10 block assists in the three matches. Five of those blocks came against the straight set win over Chicago State.

The offense Bell provided was a major reason the Grizzlies were able to push Loyola and Iowa to five sets.

Bell’s tournament performance was special because it was in her home state.

“This was a particularly big weekend for Allison and she delivered in a big way in her home state,” Beam said in a statement.

Kirk was the major defensive presence in the back row throughout the tournament with 62 digs,  26 of those digs came against Loyola while she added 25 more against Iowa.

Kirk is in her first season as the team’s libero, replacing 2010 Summit League Defensive Player of the Year, Brittany Dunn.

“I just know that all of my teammates support me and have my back, so I just go out there and do the best I can,” Kirk said.

The Golden Grizzlies will begin Summit League play on the road. Their first game will be against IPFW on Saturday, Sept. 17 and their next Summit League match-up against Western Illinois on Monday, Sept. 19.