Oberlin Volleyball Makes Program History After Beating DePauw on Homecoming


Courtesy of Go Yeo

Oberlin volleyball team, 2021.

Despite the disappointment Oberlin volleyball has faced in conference in recent years, the team has proven this year that it is a force to be reckoned with. After beating their rival Kenyon College on Sept. 23 for the first time since 2015, the Yeowomen have entered conference games with a new ferocity. This Homecoming weekend they secured a win to take down the reigning North Coast Atlantic Conference champions, the DePauw University Tigers, on Oct. 16. 

This win marks the first time in program history that the Yeowomen have taken down DePauw. Fourth-year captain Natasha Radic reminisces on the significance of this moment. 

“It was a great feeling to secure this historical win,” she said. “Not only was it a fun game, but the added benefit of it being such a momentous landmark in Oberlin College volleyball history just added to that great feeling of having performed well as a team.”

Radic is ecstatic to leave such an amazing legacy in the future of Oberlin volleyball, and is excited to see the presence of such a young driving force in the program.

“Our team has so many young players that all want to work hard and compete, and bringing that mentality really helped us all blend together so that we could really bring out the best in each other,” she said.

Radic says the team’s last big win was when she was a first-year, and they beat Denison University for one of the first times in a while, and feels like things have come full circle.

“As a fourth-year I really hope to help leave behind a sense of hard work and commitment, and lead by example,” she said. “Those are the things I’ve always focused on when it comes to sports, and I think it’s what sets apart athletes from truly great players.”

Seeing the foundation that this year’s team is setting, first-year Natalie Dufour looks to the future with excitement for the years to come. 

“Every single one of my teammates is so talented and so important in our success,” she said, pointing out that most of the team’s starters are experiencing their first collegiate season.

“For the majority of the players, this is our first season playing college sports because there was no season last year,” said Dufour. “I think that we are in a really great place as a team. I honestly just can’t wait to see where we go from here. It’s really special to be part of a team that establishes a winning reputation.”

Head Volleyball Coach Erica Rau cites the support from fans as a huge factor in their success at home. 

“The energy in the gym has been electric!” she said. “We’ve had some really great crowds this year including Homecoming. We’ve definitely been able to feed off the energy from the crowd and we’ve been pretty unstoppable at home.”

Despite having struggled on the road where they remain 0–7, the team hopes to play off of the confidence of the fans in their success.

“I’ve always known there were big things ahead for this team, but I think everyone knows it now,” Rau said. “We’ve struggled a bit with our consistency this season but the plan has not changed. Keep moving forward, keep focusing on us, keep getting a little bit better each day. The plan is to finish out conference play strong and then go into conference playoffs with some additional confidence. We’ll get the opportunity to take on some teams that we lost to the first time around.”

With three games left in the regular season and playoff season right around the corner, the volleyball team continues to push for their newfound success in a conference that is starting to see the Yeowomen’s full potential.