Grizzlies Show Drastic Improvement In Beam's First Year

On the heels of a successful 2007 season where the Oakland University volleyball team improved from just one win in 2006 to eight wins in 2007, Junior Lauren Duquette (Clinton Twp., Mich.) was named Most Valuable Player, sophomore Hallie Beattie (Bowling Green, Ohio) and freshman Emily Hoffiz (West Bloomfield, Mich.) tied for the Most Improved Player award, and senior Monica Frechen (Fowler, Mich.) was awarded the Golden Grizzly award at the team’s annual banquet held Friday, January 11.

 The banquet capped a 2007 campaign where the Grizzlies made great strides in coach Rob Beam’s first year, improving from a 1-25 record in 2006 to 8-21 in 2007. Over the course of the year, the Golden Grizzlies set new single-season standards for individual digs, as Duquette picked up 619 on the season to break the record of 475 she previously set in 2005; junior Leah Dupuie (Leonard, Mich.) tied the single-season mark of 1.25 blocks per game, and the Grizzlies set new team standards in kills per game (12.57), attempts per game (42.11), assists per game (11.40), total digs (1984), digs per game (19.08), and block assists (433). For their record-breaking performances, both Duquette and Dupuie were presented with commemorative game balls at the banquet.

Both Duquette and freshman Katy Wilson (Midlothian, Texas) were honored by the Summit League in post-season awards, as Duquette earned a second team all-Summit League honor, and Wilson was named to the All-Freshman team. Both were recognized at the annual banquet for their awards this season.

It was a season that started with three tough tests right off the bat, as the Golden Grizzlies headed to the Cincinnati tournament to face off with Maryland, Cincinnati, and Southern Mississippi. After a tough opening game in the first match against Maryland where the Grizzlies fell 30-14, Oakland rallied to tie the match with a 30-23 win in game two before Maryland picked up a 30-21 victory in game three and a 30-9 win in game four to clinch the match victory. OU dropped a 3-0 decision to Cincinnati in the second match of the tournament before picking up a 3-0 win over Southern Miss in the final game of the tournament.

The Grizzlies struggled over the next four matches, falling to Bowling Green, Texas-Arlington, Marquette, and Miami (Fla.) before OU reeled off three straight wins, topping LaSalle 3-0, St. Francis 3-0, and Toledo 3-0. The three-match winning streak was OU’s longest since Oakland competed in Division II.

After a 3-0 loss to No. 10 Michigan, Oakland picked up its fourth win in five matches, topping Centenary 3-2 in both teams’ Summit League opener, and improving Oakland to 5-7 on the season. Both Amy Golem (Dearborn, Mich.) and Adrienne Leone (Clinton Twp., Mich.) posted double-digit kill totals for the Grizzlies, with Golem picking up 20 and Leone picking up 13.

The Golden Grizzlies’ tough schedule caught up with them over the next four matches, as Oakland fell 3-0 to Oral Roberts, 3-1 to South Dakota State, 3-1 to IPFW, and 3-0 to Eastern Michigan.  Fueled by a 19-kill effort from Leone and a 16-kill performance by Golem, OU returned to the win column with a 3-1 victory at home over IUPUI. 

The rugged Summit League and non-conference schedule caught up to Oakland once again, as the Grizzlies fell to North Dakota State, Western Illinois, UMKC, and Central Michigan before the Grizzlies once again moved into the win column with a 3-1 victory over Centenary.

The Grizzlies struggled down the stretch in Summit League play, managing just one more win, a 3-2 win over UMKC at the O’Rena before the season closed.

Offensively, Oakland was led by the one-two punch of Golem and Leone.  The two averaged over two kills per game, while the trio of Wilson, sophomore Alex Darin (Yale, Mich.), and Beattie dished out the majority of the team’s assists, with Wilson averaging 6.56, Darin averaging 4.57, and Beattie averaging 2.49 assists per game.

Duquette anchored the OU defense, while Dupuie proved to be a force up front, racking up 130 total blocks and averaging 1.25 blocks per game.

While the win-loss total was still less than what the Golden Grizzlies would have liked after a promising start, the Grizzlies undoubtedly closed the 2007 season as a much improved team and one with loftier expectations for its 2008 campaign.

Oakland University 2008. All rights reserved.

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