Oregon State volleyball unable to defeat UCLA Bruins in exhausting game

Izzi+Szulczewski%2C+%2315%2C+dives+for+the+ball+in+Gill+Stadium+on+Sunday.+Izzi+Szulczewski%2C+a+sophomore+at+OSU%2C+specializes+as+a+setter.

Seth Bagasani: OMN Photographer

Izzi Szulczewski, #15, dives for the ball in Gill Stadium on Sunday. Izzi Szulczewski, a sophomore at OSU, specializes as a setter.

Audrey Anderson, Sports Contributor

The Oregon State Women’s Volleyball team fought against UCLA Bruins Sunday afternoon at Gill Coliseum, eventually losing in four sets (23-25;25-21;33-35;19-25).

With it being the last home game of the season, the Beavers were hoping to pull off a win and gain some momentum before facing off against No. 8-ranked Stanford and No. 12-ranked Oregon.

The Beavers started strong, implementing mind-blowing techniques and exhibiting incredible prowess. Kinley Swan, the freshman middle blocker for OSU from Orem, Utah, had the Bruins running every which way, expertly switching between tip, power spike, and fake. 

A long break occurred during the first set due to an error with the scorecard. During the break, Oregon State’s Keira Herron, the freshman libero from College Station, Texas, decided to pump up her teammates and the crowd by whipping out some incredible dance moves.

With volleyball paused, the battle between the Beavers and the Bruins continued uniquely with a back-and-forth of dance moves. Benny the Beaver made a guest appearance shutting down the Bruins with a cartwheel and the infamous worm move.

Even with the encouraging dance moves from Keira Herron and the rest of the OSU team, the UCLA Bruins found their drive at the end of the first set, coming back and ultimately winning. The leaping saves from Mackenzie Cole, the Libero from Long Island, New York, and the zooming spikes from Iman Ndiaye, the outside hitter from Dallas, Texas, proved to be too tough of a match for the Beavers.

The second set proved a challenge to the Bruins, with multiple mistakes, including fouls from touching the net and confusion about who should get the ball. Meanwhile, the Beavers found their footing and, with a joint effort from the team, were able to win the second set.

Kateryna Tkachenko, the sophomore outside hitter from Lubny, Ukraine, struck fear within the Bruins by firing the ball just out of reach of the player’s hands. Tkachenko made a host of blocks along with her vicious spikes, inspiring her team to continue with their point-winning streak. 

The third set gave way to long volleys between the two teams, with both teams fighting to their wits’ end. Cries of frustration and cheers of jubilation rang out amongst the players as points were won and lost. With both teams refusing to give up a single point, the set continued past the regular twenty-five points.

The crowd was on their feet roaring for the OSU Beavers as the third set continued into the 30s point range, but the UCLA Bruins ended up clinching the win, exhausting the Beavers.

Although the Bruins struggled with serving throughout the fourth, the Beavers could not gain momentum from the grueling third-set loss, ultimately giving the Bruins the win.

Unable to bounce back from Friday’s loss, the Oregon State Beavers are heading into the two final games of the season on a nine-game losing streak.