Balyko Records 4,000th Career Assist As Offensive Explosion Propels Oregon State Past Colorado
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Returning to Gill Coliseum for the first time in 19 days, the Beavs made sure to put on a show for the home fans with their best offensive performance of the season, defeating Colorado in four sets (25-19, 17-25, 25-19, 25-20) on Friday night.
"For us, that was the best team win that we've had this season," head coach Mark Barnard said. "We had everybody really contributing tonight and really enabled us to get out of trouble with all six players on the court playing at a high level. Inna [Balyko] was able to set the ball to multiple players and keep the defense guessing."
On a night where she needed just 30 assists to reach the 4,000 career assist milestone, graduate transfer Inna Balyko, matched an Oregon State high, dished out the third-most assists in a match in her career and distributed 50 or more assists for the seventh time in her career, finishing the victory with 53 helpers to guide Oregon State to a season-best matching 69 kills.
"I couldn't even believe it. Four thousand is just incredible. The level of consistency that she's provided for us this season has been remarkable. It's no surprise that she's reached this milestone," Barnard added.
Balkyo wasn't done, as she also set a season-high in digs with 15 to record her fifth double-double of the season and anchor the OSU defense that out-dug the Buffaloes 57-38 in the match. The plus 19 being the largest margin for the Beavers in a match this season.
Teammates Mychael Vernon (22) and Izzi Szulczewski (15) were on the receiving end of the majority of Balyko's passes, with both numbers marking career high kill for the pair of sophomore attackers. Szulczewski stayed even with Balyko for the team lead in double-doubles adding a team-high 17 digs in the match for her fifth double-double of the season.
Oregon State had three or more attackers in double figures for the first time since the five-set win over Cal on Sept. 23 at Gill, as Kateryna Tkachenko also got in on the fun for the Beavs with 11 kills of her own. The trio finished with just 13 errors to help guide the Beavs to a season-high .398 attacking percentage as a team.
"Hitting nearly .400 is just phenomenal effort on the part of our hitters. Everyone hit well. We didn't have one or two players having an off night. The confidence factor after a win like that is something that really stands out for our girls before our match on Sunday.
"We were comfortable finally being back in our home environment," Barnard added on the crowd in Gill Coliseum. "I really thought that we started to play better in over against USC, so to carry that on and pick up a win for our home fans was really pleasing."
The Beavs will look to get a win streak going on Sunday against Utah. First serve from Gill is set for 12 p.m. PT.
Oregon State Athletics strives to Build Excellent Authentic Visionary Student-Athletes (GoBEAVS).