Lakers pull out close win

Lauren Weaver sets up her teammate
Photo taken by Billy Reese | The Oswegonian

The Oswego State women’s volleyball team pulled out a 3-2 win over Morrisville State on Tuesday (25-11, 25-18, 23-25, 24-26, 15-9) behind the strong play of sophomore captain Meghan Puff and freshman Stephanie Bailey. The win brings the Lakers to a final record of 7-22 for the season.

The tone of the match was set early for the Lakers, as they took advantage of the Mustangs’ misfires to come out to an early 7-1 lead in the first set. The Mustangs fought back but were undone by sloppy play as the Lakers cruised to a quick first-set win.

The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead in the second set, but the Lakers preserved and not only coming back, but took the lead at the 12-11 mark. They scored four more unanswered points from there, and the Mustangs didn’t come within four of the Lakers for the rest of the set. Bailey set the tone for the match during the Lakers comeback, including three kills during their five-score streak.

The Lakers came out strong in the third set, looking to finish off the three game sweep that seemed all too apparent, but the Mustangs came back ,looking much sharper than they did in the first two sets. Two straight aces by junior Kim Grice put the score at 22-18, and the outlook was grim for the Mustangs. But they fought back by scoring five straight unanswered points to take the lead, and eventually won the set 25-23 to force another period.

Momentum switched over to the Mustangs during the fourth set despite strong play early from the Lakers. With the score tied at 10, Morrisville scored nine of the next 10 points to take a commanding 19-11 lead. The Lakers made a stunning comeback attempt, scoring seven straight to pull within a point of the Mustangs. They kept it close for the rest of the match, but freshman Tiffany Jones-Maxwell put it away with a big stuff to force the 5th and final set.

“Us losing the third and fourth sets was a combination of us losing focus a bit, and Morrisville coming out strong,” Puff said. “But we pulled it together in the final set and came away with a huge win.”

“I don’t think we lost focus,” interim head coach Kaylin Brainerd said. “Morrisville is an experienced team, and they played a lot stronger in the third and fourth sets.”

The Lakers got their rhythm back during the final set, using three kills by Bailey to jump out to a quick 8-3 lead. The Mustangs matched a few points but never pulled within five for the rest of the match, allowing the Lakers to close out the regular season with a big victory.

“We played really well today, especially during the first two sets,” Puff said. “We put it all together and that’s what led to us winning.”

Puff had 13 kills for the Lakers, second on the team to Bailey who had 17. Freshman Kara Michelsen finished the match with 44 assists, and freshman Samantha Manicone set the pace defensively with a team-high 19 digs. The Lakers also had a huge advantage in the service game, finishing with 10 aces compared to the Mutangs’ three.

On the opposite side, Jones-Maxwell was the only Mustang to compile double digit kills, finishing the match with 15. Meghan Robinson led Morrisville in assists and digs with 22 and 24, respectively.

“We played incredibly well today,” Brainerd said. “We’re a very young team and everything comes with experience. We are slowly making our way there.”

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