Oregon State volleyball splits the weekends action with win against Colorado, loss to Utah

OSU%E2%80%99s+Women%E2%80%99s+Volleyball+player+Izzi+Szulczewski+spikes+the+ball+in+Gill+Stadium+on+Sunday%2C+October+23%2C+2022.+Izzi+Szulczewski+also+specializes+as+a+Setter.+

Seth Bagasani: OMN Photographer

OSU’s Women’s Volleyball player Izzi Szulczewski spikes the ball in Gill Stadium on Sunday, October 23, 2022. Izzi Szulczewski also specializes as a Setter.

Lily Middleton, Sports Contributor

In Friday’s game against University of Colorado Boulder, the Oregon State Beavers were able to quickly pull ahead with a confident offense and a cohesive defense to defeat the Buffaloes at Gill Coliseum. 

In the middle of the third set, senior setter Inna Balyko was recognized for not only reaching 4000 career assists but also now ranking third in Oregon State’s women’s volleyball records behind Miya Malauulu with 5,368 assists from 1994-97 and Brandi Bonnarens with 4,063 assists from 1997-2000.

Sophomore outside hitters Mychael Vernon and Kateryna Tkachenko as well as sophomore setter Izzi Szulczewski took advantage of Balyko’s skill resulting in all three hitters getting kills in the double digits. 

After defeating CU Boulder in a quick 4 sets (25-19, 17-25, 25-19, 25-20), the Oregon State Beavers pushed to carry that winning momentum into their game facing the Utah Utes on Oct 23 in Gill Coliseum. 

With a rough start in the first set with pin hitters swinging out and a slow defense, the Beavers realized that Utah’s defense would pose a threat. Utah’s 6’2” junior middle blocker Allie Olsen and 6’2” sophomore outside Lauren Jardine put up a wall against our pin hitters.

Despite the obstacle in front of them, the Beavers’ front row was able to score 10 kills on Utah’s tough block and quick defense. However, that wasn’t enough to pull through to take the set, falling short at 17-25.

Moving into the second set, the team started a little rattled, making small defensive and serve-receive mistakes.

On top of being slightly discouraged, Utah’s Olsen continued to put up a tough block with the help of her pin hitters. Despite falling short in the previous set, the Beavers managed to pick things up with strong hitters and solid blocks. 

Accepting the tall defense put up by the other team, Oregon State’s front row began using this to their advantage in tooling the block whenever possible.

Tkachenko helped bring the team back up with 4 kills in the second along with freshman MB Kinley Swan and sophomore MB Aliyah McDonald with 3 kills each.

Balyko and Swan retaliated with blocks and touches in response to the tough block put up by Utah as well as sophomore libero Ryan White picking up any hit thrown at her.

Despite losing the second 15-25, the Beavers remained fired up resulting in a point for point third set. Adjusting their defense to the block, defensive players White, sophomore Iris Coba, and sophomore Emma Villaluz were constantly on their toes picking up any hit or serve sent by Utah. 

In the third Tkachenko and Szulczewski, both saw ways around the block, sending hits to a hard angle that Utah’s defense just couldn’t pick up. Szulczewski swinging from both the front and back row. 

Next week the Beavers travel to Arizona to face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Oct. 28 and the University of Arizona Wildcats the following Sunday.