Volleyball Downs Cal Poly in Season Opener

Aug. 28, 2009

Fort Collins, Colo. – Three Oregon State hitters racked up double-digit kills in the Beavers’ season opening win over Cal Poly, 3-1, on Friday evening in the first match of the Asics/Coors Classic.


Set scores were 25-19, 25-20, 24-26, 25-23.


“The big feature is coming back in that fourth set when we were down,” head coach Taras Liskevych said. “I thought we made great scramble plays, and we persevered in the first match of the year against a team that’s receiving substantial votes in the rankings. I think there was great serving by Jill Sawatzky, and overall, we had a couple of people that came back at the end of the match – Rachel in set four came back at 15 all and Lexie had a great stint of blocking at the end.”


Oregon State (1-0) capitalized on 16 Cal Poly (0-1) serving errors, while racking up 51 kills, led by senior Rachel Rourke (Queensland, Australia) with 14. Senior Lexie Rathgeber (White Rock, British Columbia) tallied 12, while fellow Canadian junior Jill Sawatzky (St. Andrews, Manitoba) added 11.


The Beavers easily cruised through the first set limiting the attack errors to four, while hitting. 323, The team dug 14 balls, led by freshman Alyssa O’Neil’s (West Linn, Ore.) four, finishing her first career match with 10.


After a slow start to the second set, the Mustangs struggled to stop senior Bree Knitter (Fallbrook, Calif.), who led the Beavers to 15 first, recording three straight kills from both outside and opposite. She finished with four in the set, nine in the match.


Coming out of the break, the Beavers overcame a three-point deficit to earn their first lead of the set at 12-11, but Cal Poly regained the lead, extending it to as many as four. But Oregon State battled back again, rallying to take the lead at 24-23, but the Mustangs came back with three straight points to take the set, 26-24.


The Beavers came out swinging in the fourth set with Rathgeber collecting the first point on a kill. The two teams traded points before Oregon State built a three-point advantage at the 12-9 mark. Cal Poly returned the favor at 19-16, but Rourke came alive to bring Oregon State back into the game at 20 all. A pair of kills by Rourke, a kill by Rathgeber and a final block by Rathgeber and Knitter wrapped up the match in favor of the Beavers.


Sophomore libero Betsy Devich (Kirkland, Wash.) led the backcourt defense with 15 digs. Three other Beavers had double-digit digs with senior setter Camilla Ah-Hoy (Laie, Hawai’i) earning the first double-double of the season with 39 assists and 11 digs.


In the front court, junior Kiersten Sambrailo (Watsonville, Calif.) posted five blocks, one solo, while Rathgeber and Knitter both had three block assists each.


Cal Poly, who received 18 votes in the preseason AVCA top 25 poll, good for 39th, was led by Molly Pon with 12 kills and Ashleigh Bertoni with 11 kills and 14 digs. Libero Alison Mort earned a match-high 23 digs.


The Beavers continue play in the Asics/Coors Classic on Saturday against host, No. 24 Colorado State, at 6:00 p.m. PT.


Oregon State Notes – Oregon State has won each of its season openers under Taras Liskevych; winning the last seven out of eight … Senior Camilla Ah-Hoy recorded her first double-double of the season.


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