October 12, 2011

SPORTS: Volleyball Holds Off Oakland For Fifth Straight Win

by Spencer Grosvenor
Photo by Rachel Hale
A huge Summit League match took place in The Jungle Tuesday night, as IUPUI played host to Oakland University on “Pack the House Night”. IUPUI entered Tuesday’s match trying to extend their hot winning streak to five consecutive, while the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland also hoped to continue their strong play, winning 4 of their last 5 matches.

The first set showed promise that the showdown was going to be intense between the two Summit League rivals. IUPUI never trailed in the first set and held a five point lead as they neared the end.  Sophomore outside hitter Mariah Fair, who leads the Jaguars in kills this season, added seven more in the set to her season total, propping up the Jaguars in their dominant 25-21 win.  The Jaguars showed consistent play throughout the second set, winning 25-19 and heading into the locker room with an impressive 2-0 set lead.

Photo by Rachel Hale
"We like to get an early jump on teams and win the first set," said IUPUI Head Coach Steve Payne of the early advantage. "Getting that first one out of the way, it’s a big push for the rest of the match."

Oakland would slowly develop a come back in the third set, hoping to extend their stay in Indianapolis at least one more set. The Golden Grizzlies started off the set with a four point lead, but an IUPUI timeout would allow the Jaguars to regain their rhythm, and they were able to tally a 9-2 run. The Jaguars would continue to display their strong offense, forcing Oakland to take a timeout while holding onto a 21-19 lead. This opportunity for the Grizzlies to catch their breath allowed them to regroup to take their first set win of the night. IUPUI’s determination would inch closer to the Grizzlies lead, to only trail by a point (23-22) going into another Oakland timeout. OU would finally win the third set with the game points coming off two IUPUI scoring errors.  

Having a 1-3 record in 5th set matches, the Jaguars clearly wanted to prevent the Grizzlies from extending the match to the final set, but mistakes would haunt them late. The Jags were controlled the set at 20-16, but then Oakland opened a six-consecutive-point streak to take the late lead. Although still trying to regain their rhythm, IUPUI would find themselves coming back from a three point deficit to tie the fourth set at 24-24. After three late-lead changes, Oakland would win the set after a wild combination of brilliant saves and kill attempts from both side, only to earn both final decisive points on Jaguar attacking errors. Oakland won the fourth set, 26-24.

Photo by Rachel Hale
IUPUI knew they would have to go into the final set strong and build a comfortable lead to avenge their late match struggles. They did just that, rallying to an early 7-2 lead. Later, IUPUI was able capture a four point lead mid-set, keep their momentum up to help ensure a fifth-straight match victory. The game point was finished by fantastic kill attempt by junior right side hitter Kelsey Hoefer.

Oakland competed without Brittany Holbrook, last week’s Summit League Offensive Player of the Week.

Coach Payne’s reaction after the match, “After we were up 2-0, I knew that they were going to come back strong because they’re a really good volleyball team.  I knew they wouldn’t just lay down on us.  We just had to get an early jump on that fifth set and we did.”

The Jaguars return to The Jungle this Friday night to defend their five game winning streak against an opponent they lost to earlier this year, North Dakota State.

Oakland 21-19-25-26-8 (2)
IUPUI 25-25-23-24-15 (3)

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