Oberlin Falls to Michigan-Dearborn
The University of Michigan-Dearborn overpowered Oberlin at the net on Tuesday as their 9.5 blocks bested the Yeowomen’s four to defeat them in their season-opening match.
The Yeowomen fell 26–24 in the first set before winning their lone set of the match 28–26 in the second. But UMB swept the remainder of the game, as the Wolverines won the final two sets 25–19 and 25–23. Each match was close between the two non-conference opponents; the largest point differential among the sets was six.
Erica Rau, Oberlin College Volleyball head coach, said she saw the match as highly competitive, with the Yeomen resting on the Wolverines’ heels for the majority of the game.
“The scores were really close, and each set could’ve gone either way,” Rau said.
Rau, who is entering her fifth year as head coach, was pleased with the team’s effort but not the final result.
“I think we had some first-game jitters and were a little tense at times,” she said. “But I’m really happy with the overall skill and way we played on the court.”
Claudia Scott, sophomore middle hitter and 2014 kills leader, led the offensive charge for Oberlin with 16 kills. Junior right side and outside hitter Ave Spencer followed with 10 kills. Oberlin’s offensive opportunities were a beacon in the competition, boasting 152 to UMD’s 119.
“We were really good at always being on the attack and hitting as hard as we can to go after them,” said junior middle hitter Maggie Middleton, who added three kills and two blocks in the loss.
Score notwithstanding, Oberlin dictated the game’s tempo for the majority of the match and dominated offensive stats across the board. The Yeomen led the Wolverines not only in kills but also in assists, digs and aces.
While they dominated offensively, Oberlin’s errors proved to be the difference in the match. The Yeowomen had 29 attack errors to UMD’s 18 and 14 serve errors, while the Wolverines committed just six.
“We served well last night but not our best,” Rau said. “We had a lot of misses and need to keep working on our ball control so we can run our offense the way we want to.”
Though the Yeomen put up a fight, it was clear that UMD made the most of their offensive attacks. The Wolverines’ hitting percentage was .235 to Oberlin’s .145. Ashley Parks, who had a game-high 23 kills and four aces, led the Wolverine offense.
As for individual performance, two Yeowomen netted high marks. Two-time NCAC Honorable Mention Meredith Leung made a match-high 42 assists. The junior setter also had 14 digs and two aces.
Senior captain and defensive specialist Molly Powers fulfilled her role as a staple of the Yeowomen’s defense, logging in a team-high 16 digs.
“I was pretty satisfied with my performance. I think I did a good job helping keep our serve-receive on point and kept a positive energy going,” Powers said.
The Yeowomen have been progressing as a team in recent years. During the past four seasons under Coach Rau the team has improved their overall record every year. Most recently, the squad finished sixth in the North Coast Athletic Conference, ending 2014 at 13–19 overall, 2–6 NCAC.
With this positive trajectory, the Yeowomen hold high ambitions for this season.
“We want to finish top three in the conference, have a winning record and keep improving steadily,” Middleton said.
Oberlin will be on the road this Friday as the team travels to Pittsburgh, PA to take on Washington and Jefferson College and Alfred University in a doubleheader. The first serve is slated for 4 p.m.