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Beavers Deny Comeback in Five-Set Win

Sep 2, 2022

HOUSTON – In a match that appeared to have echoes of its season-opener, Oregon State denied Alabama's comeback attempt in a 3-2 (25-22, 25-18, 20-25, 18-25, 15-7) win to open the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup.
 
Like the season-opener, OSU won the first two sets fairly comfortably before allowing the opponent to win the following two. In the fifth set, however, the Beavers found their resolve, using a 4-0 run to open up a 9-5 lead and never letting their foot off the gas.
 
"It was a great start with the first two sets, we had a new lineup and it held together well," head coach Mark Barnard said. "The third and fourth sets were not our best performance and we went into the fifth needing to turn it around. I am very proud of how the team responded in the fifth set and we played almost mistake free volleyball to close it out."
 
Mychael Vernon led the Beavers with 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage on an error-free day. She also contributed three blocks and five digs. Inna Balyko dished out 26 assists with 11 digs and two aces. On the defensive side, Kinley Swan had seven blocks to go with her six kills.
 
The match got off to a rocky start for both squads, with the two teams combining for eight errors with just two kills in the first ten points. Freshman outside Nursena Ballioglu steadied the Beavs, picking up the team's first kill and then notching two aces in a 5-0 OSU run that resulted in an 11-7 lead. Swan and Balyko keyed another run late in the set with a pair of blocks to make it 19-15. From there, the Beavs survived a late Alabama run to take the early lead.
 
OSU won the first set despite having more attack errors than kills thanks to the defensive efforts of Balyko and Ryan White, who combined for nine digs in the frame. Vivian Light led the team with four kills.
 
Vernon got the Beavs back on track in the second set. The sophomore hit .500 with six kills on an error-free 12 attacks. Balyko dished out 10 assists in the frame, including five on a crucial 8-0 run that resulted in a 24-14 lead for Oregon State. Alabama battled back with a 4-0 spurt, but an attack error gave OSU the 25-18 win.
 
Alabama rebounded to take the third set 25-20. Oregon State struggled to put away points in the frame as the Crimson Tide totaled six blocks and held OSU to a -.026 hitting percentage. UA continued its strong defensive effort in the fourth set, holding the Beavers to six kills and forcing a fifth set with a 25-18 win.
 
The Tide couldn't contain the Beavers in the fifth set. OSU hit .455 with seven kills and two blocks in the 15-7 victory.
 
Oregon State will look to build on its first win with two matches on Saturday. The Beavs open the day with Central Arkansas at 8 a.m. PT before closing the tournament against host Houston at 4:30 p.m. PT.
 
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