Nov. 16, 2013
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Cassie Pelloni earned 22 kills and Melissa Deatsch notched a second consecutive double-double with 20 kills, 11 digs and two service aces as Oakland (15-14, 9-5 HL) defeated Valpo (24-7, 10-4 HL) in five sets on Saturday afternoon's Senior Night in the Athletics Center O'rena. With the win, the Golden Grizzlies improve their seed to No. 3 heading into the Horizon League Tournament next weekend. OU won with set scores of 25-20, 24-26, 28-26, 20-25 and 15-12.
"It was really competitive and certainly shows the improvements we've made," said head coach Rob Beam. "I'm really proud of our team and of our seniors Alissa Valentine and Alexis Rutter. They played tremendous volleyball tonight. We really had a great team effort tonight in the win."
Brooke Wadsworth blocked exceptionally well in the match earning one solo block and 10 block assists. Alissa Valentine added 28 helpers and Ciara Schultz had 26 of her own and two service aces. Oakland's hitting showed inconsistency with the best percentage coming in the fifth set (.250) and the worst being the fourth set (.048). Overall, the teams were nearly identical in hitting efficiency as Valpo recorded .180 and Oakland came in slightly better at .188.
Oakland began the first set trailing Valpo in the early goings but gained some momentum off a kill by Jessica Dood, turning a two-point deficit to a two-point lead at 9-7. Oakland kept control for the remainder of the set and Deatsch would end it with a kill, 25-20. In the second set, Oakland continued to carry momentum early but squandered its lead when Valpo went on a seven-point run to make the score 18-13. Oakland made the set close by coming back to tie the score at 24-24, but it was not enough to take the set and Valpo evened the match at 1-1 by winning 26-24.
The third set of the match was tight the whole way and the teams traded leads throughout, both looking for that second win of the match. Oakland hit .245 and Valpo hit .256 and the set would go into extra points for the second time on the night, but Oakland was victorious in the end, 28-26. In the fourth set, the Crusaders took early initiative and set the tone, refusing to surrender. The score was tied at 19-19 before Valpo went on a five-point run to all but close out the set. The Crusaders were victorious 25-20.
The two teams headed into set five knotted at two sets a piece. Valpo would lead briefly, but Oakland wasted little time in taking over. The score was tied 5-5 before Deatsch recorded yet another kill to begin OU's quest to end the match. Pelloni earned the final kill causing the O'rena to erupt as the Grizzlies earned their second five-set win of the weekend.
Oakland heads into the Horizon League Tournament seeded third and will take on No. 6 Cleveland State in Milwaukee at 7 p.m. CT. on Friday, Nov. 22.