V-ball wins opener

The Golden Grizzlies defeated IPFW, last season’s Summit League regular season champion, in four sets winning their opening Summit League match on Sept. 17.

Rob Beam, head coach said that this was “a big win” for the team against a quality opponent.

“Every match in the Summit League is important, but getting a win against IPFW on the road on opening night makes it a little bit bigger, maybe a little bit more special,” Beam said.

OU now has two straight wins against IPFW after losing a five-set heartbreaker in Fort Wayne last year.

“I think this is rewarding for all of us,” Beam said, “IPFW along with North Dakota State have been the standard bearers in our league, (but) the last three times we’ve played those teams, we’re 3-0.”

Senior setter, Ashley Nevelle, returned to the lineup and recorded 40 assists and 14 digs — both team highs.

“I think that Ashley does a lot of things well,” Beam said. “She came up with some really key plays at big times.”

In addition to Nevelle’s 14 digs, Allie Kirk had 12, while Jillian Kulka had 10.

OU’s front row was also very active, offensively and defensively.

Meghan Bray lead OU with 15 kills, while Brittany Holbrook had 12, Katie Horling had 10. Jenna Lange led the team with seven total blocks while Holbrook had five.

“This particular lineup when we’re playing well and (are) ball-control solid just makes us very versatile, it puts a lot of different hitters in different zones along the net and it makes a team very hard to block and defend,” Beam said. “We had a lot of players going, and when that happens, I think we are very hard to beat.”

Now that the Grizzlies have begun league play, all of their remaining matches, except for one, will be against Summit League opponents.

Only the top four teams in the league will qualify for the Summit League championship tournament in November.

OU will be looking to make it to the tournament for the first time in program history after back-to-back fifth place finishes.

The Grizzlies will return home to the Athletics Center O’Rena to play North Dakota State Friday, and South Dakota State Saturday at 7 p.m.