Lakers sweep Utica in straight sets

Jones_sets_up_Crump_volleyball

The Oswego State women’s volleyball team had little trouble defeating visiting Utica College, sweeping the Pioneers in three sets.

This lopsided result was expected when Utica entered Max Ziel Gymnasium on Wednesday night. Utica entered the match with a 1-11 record, having been the victim of nine shutouts during their treacherous season.

Oswego State, led by junior tri-captain Katie van Kessel, was primed for a big time victory. They have been improving all year, winning two of their last three games and becoming a more dynamic team on both sides of the net.

Kessel in particular is heating up at the right time. She is currently second on the team in kills (90) and digs (127). During Oswego State’s first encounter with Utica College this year, a 3-0 shutout on Sept. 18 at the Union College Invitational, Kessel had a game-high nine kills. Kessel led Oswego State into a game Wednesday night that appeared like they would have had to try to lose.

However, Utica played the role of pesky younger sibling perfectly Wednesday night. Utica got better and better each set of the game, making Oswego State’s most impressive win of the season look much less significant and much more troublesome.

In the first set, the Lakers got off to a quick 13-5 start. The attack was led by Kessel, who in one sequence during the first set scored a kill, began her turn as server and went on a 8-0 run before losing the serve. In total, Kessel had five kills and two aces alone during the first set on route to a 25-to-12 victory.

Senior Liz Crouch was also on full display from the moment the first whistle blew. She was clearly the leader on the court for the Lakers, as her play and demeanor were nearly flawless.

The second set got off to a slower start for Oswego State and, much like any pesky little sibling, Utica made it very difficult to play comfortably without looking over their shoulders. The Lakers began making many mental mistakes which caused a far less talented Utica team to stick around much longer in the match. The set was 12-11 in favor of the Lakers until a run sparked by a hot serving streak from Crouch put the second set comfortably in the hands of Oswego State.

A huge factor in Wednesday’s game was the subpar play of senior tri-captain Jess Isgro. Isgro, who leads the Lakers in kills on the season, was not playing like her usual self. Several missteps and bad shots from Isgro cost the team many points and possessions.

Oswego State became even sloppier in the third set, allowing a mass amount of self-inflicted errors and off-balanced attacks to bring Utica back into the game. The only reason why Oswego State was in the third set at all was because of the height and athletic advantage at the net provided by sophomores Chelsea Crump and Courtney Price. The combination had an effective three aces and three attacks throughout the third set as well as intimidating Utica at the net and effective just about every shot decision.

The final score of the third set was 25-23 and the Lakers swept the match 3-0. Oswego State was stumbling into the victory, barely finishing off their lesser opponent. While the Lakers had impressive moments in the match, it is clear that they have work to do before they can truly become a force in the conference. The Lakers improved to 5-9 on the season and will take on Buffalo State on Friday, Sept. 24.