OSU volleyball loses to UCLA in five sets

OSUVB vs. UCLA 11/3

Lauren Sluss, Multimedia Contributor

The OSU Women’s Volleyball team kicked off their match against the No. 22 UCLA Bruins strong, winning the first two sets. The hopes for an upset quickly faded, however, as OSU was unable to clinch a win in the last three sets, losing the match in the fifth 9-15.

The first set kicked off strong for the Beavers, quickly pulling ahead 11-5. OSU was unable to keep the substantial lead, however, as UCLA saw a series of quick kills from junior middle blocker Madeleine Gates and sophomore outside hitter Jenny Mosser.

With the score tied 25-25, it was a battle for the lead—neither team able to grasp the final two winning points. A kill from OSU junior outside hitter Amy Underdown tied the score 26-26, and the Beavers were able to capture the set 28-26 off a successful block.

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Underdown, putting up 21 kills throughout the game, attributed the team’s movement as contributing to the first sets win.

“I think we did a good job of keeping them on their toes,” Underdown said. “We were running a lot of different plays and were able to keep them off their rocker a little bit.”

With kills from Gates and freshman outside hitter Alexis Light, the second set kicked off in favor of UCLA, with the Bruins pulling ahead 9-3. The Beavers tried to close the gap with blocks from senior right side hitter Daniela Vargas and a kill from sophomore outside hitter Maddie Goings, setting the score 9-10.

It wasn’t until the last few moments of the set where OSU was able to pull ahead. The teams battled for the last points, with the Beavers clinching a 26-24 win with a double touch called on the Bruins.

OSU Head Coach Mark Barnard commended on the Beaver’s strong offense, which he believes helped them to win the first two sets.

“I thought we did a good job attacking and picking up their tips and rolls, which we have not been good at this year especially,” Barnard said. “I thought we did well there; we slowed them down at the net.”

Three consecutive kills from UCLA senior middle blocker Kyra Rogers set the Beavers back 0-4 in the fourth set, and they were unable to recover. A block from UCLA junior setter Kylie Miller closed the set with the Bruins winning 18-25.

Although both teams saw high scoring, the Beavers were unable to execute in the final points. The fourth set saw a 24-26 UCLA win and the fifth 9-15.

Barnard said the team needs to work on performing under pressure, something he thinks held them back in the last three sets.

“It’s hard, but if you want to be good you just have to be able to execute when it really matters, not when the score is 5-5,” Barnard said. “When the pressure was on we definitely let a few balls drop; it’s hard to simulate that unless you actually play.”

Sophomore libero Grace Massey, who led the team with 27 digs, felt a similar lack of execution on the court during the last three sets.

“I think after winning the first two sets we get really excited and then we come back and realize that it’s not over yet and we still need to fight just as hard as we did in the first two—that’s what we need to work on,” Massey said. 

The Beavers will have two days to work on these skills as they face the University of Southern California on Sunday. According to Barnard, he will have the team focused on shutting down USC’s offense.

“USC is a very good attacking team; we’ve got to pick up our blocking a lot,” Barnard said. “UCLA is O.K., but USC is a significantly bigger and stronger team. We need to slow that down at the net.”

The Beavers will play the No. 2 Pac-12-ranked Trojans at noon in Gill Coliseum on Sunday.