OSU volleyball finishes regular season, looks toward playoffs

Redshirt freshman Outside Hitter Haylie Bennett elevates for a spike against The University of Oregon. Bennett has recorded 245 kills this season, trailing only Mary-Kate Marshall (506) and Maddie Goings (313).

Jarred Bierbrauer, Sports Contributor

While everyone was away on holiday for Thanksgiving, the Beavers were hard at work trying to keep their winning streak alive and ending the season on a high note.

With home games against two ranked teams in UCLA and Oregon, OSU was put to the ultimate test.

On Wednesday, the Beavers took on the UCLA Bruins for the first time this season. In the opening set, there was a total of 10 ties and five lead changes. After both teams had set point multiple times, Reily Buechler picked up back to back kills to give UCLA the set win 29-31. OSU was unable to regain the momentum after that, costing them the the next two sets 17-25 and 19-25. Final set score: 3-0 UCLA.

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“We were outclassed by a more savvy volleyball team,” head coach Mark Barnard said. “We struggled to handle their left-side attack. We scrambled well defensively but that put us out of system and resulted in a lot of free balls for them.”

In Friday nights game against Oregon, OSU closed out the season by honoring the three seniors on the team that will graduate this year. These were Mary-Kate Marshall, McKenna Hollingsworth and Lanesha Reagan. Marshall has been one of the stars of the team this year. Hollingsworth and Reagan have missed the vast majority of the season due to injury.

In the game, Marshall tallied 19 kills on 55 attacks and registered 15 digs, to record her 12th double-double of the season, and a block. With 1,866 career kills, Mary Kate-Marshall needed 54 more to break Rachel Rourke’s franchise record for the most kills done by any player over the course of four seasons (1,920). Marshall already owned the record for most career attacks (now 5,823).

Going into the NCAA post-season selection on Sunday, Oregon State was ranked No. 27 in the nation.

“That’s resiliency,” Barnard said. “It’s not giving up even in the sets we lost we’ve stayed fighting to the end. That’s such a strong thing in volleyball because you never know when you can run three or four points on the team, and that’s something we’ve done this year, maybe better than I can ever remember.”

POST-SEASON

The Beavers were selected into the NCAA post-season tournament Sunday and will head to Texas to take on North Carolina in the first round of the tournament.