Beavs Rally To Topple Cal In Five Sets
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Trailing by five midways through the fourth set, it seemed as though California would escape Gill Coliseum with their first road win in the series since 2019, but the Oregon State volleyball team had other ideas, as the Beavs mounted a furious comeback to defeat the Golden Bears in five sets (23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 15-13) on Friday night.
"That was truly a great team effort," head coach Mark Barnard said following the gritty win by his team. "We certainly struggled at various time during the match, but we found a way to play our best volleyball in the fifth set and come out with a victory."
The Beavers were once again led by Izzi Szulczewski, with the sophomore collecting either a double-double or triple-double in her sixth-straight match. The Beaverton product finished the night with a career-best 13 kills to go along side 11 digs.
Mychael Vernon finished just shy of a new career high, capping a solid offensive night with 17 kills, while Vivian Light (13) and Kinley Swan (10) help see Oregon State finish with four student-athletes having double-digit kills for the first time this season.
On the defensive end, five different Beavs finished with 10 or more digs, paced by libero Ryan White's 18. Already leading the PAC-12 in digs per set, Oregon State match a season-high with 80 on the night. At the net, Light racked up a career-best five blocks, including four solo stuffs, while OSU had their second-best season total with 15.0 team send backs.
Finding themselves down 16-11 in the set and 2-1 in the match, the Beavers (6-6, 1-1 PAC-12) found a spark and collected seven of the next nine points to tie the stanza at 18 for each side. Cal (7-5, 0-2 PAC-12) threw another punch, going up 22-19 off a quick 3-0 run, but OSU answered the bell again with a 4-0 stretch of their own to take their first lead in the set at 23-22. Kills by Szulczewski and Light forced the deciding fifth set, as the Beavs rallied to take the fourth, 26-24.
As was much of the match, the fifth set proved to be more of the same, with both teams battling it out. In the race to 15, the score ended up tied on seven different occasions and saw the lead flip three times. Back-to-back kills by Szulczewski pushed the Beavs that much closer, and the freshman Swan put the final bow on the match with her career-high matching 10th kill of the evening.
Oregon State enjoys a much need breather, returning to the court at Gill Coliseum next Friday at 7 p.m. against the Arizona Wildcats.
Oregon State Athletics strives to Build Excellent Authentic Visionary Student-Athletes (Go BEAVS).