The Oswego State volleyball team won both of its matches to finish off the Oswego State Tournament on Saturday, defeating the Hamilton College Continentals, 3-2, before defeating the SUNY Potsdam Bears, 3-0, in the Max Ziel Gymnasium at Laker Hall.
These two wins gave the Lakers a 3-1 record for the Oswego State Tournament, while improving their overall record to 6-7.
The second match started out as a tight one with the Lakers and Bears going back and forth for much of the first set. Oswego State then went on a bit of a run that led to a 25-19 set win.
After the first set, Oswego State took full control of the match. Potsdam started to make more and more errors, while the Lakers played in a very comfortable fashion. The team’s success this weekend was in large part due to a successful execution of head coach J. J. O’Connell ‘s strategy for the tournament.
“Our kids are really comfortable playing with each other. We have great chemistry. I rotated the lineups a lot this weekend and played everybody basically,” O’Connell said. “They looked good together and our ball control and setting was in pretty good locations.”
Oswego State won the second set, 25-15, and then finish off the sweep in third, 25-18.
The Lakers won the match against Potsdam without their lone senior on the team, Stephanie Bailey. Bailey is dealing with an injury and O’Connell decided to sit her for the second match of the day. Bailey was pleased to see her teammates step up and perform well in her absence.
“It feels fantastic knowing that if I’m not 100 percent that we have so many amazing people that are just ready to step in and take over and kill it for us,” Bailey said.
Junior Hannah Dahlgren led the Lakers in kills with 11, and hitting percentage with a .714 success rate. Junior Olivia Zimmerman led the team in assists with 19, while junior Rachel Ruggaber had the most digs of the match for the Lakers with 10.
In the first match of the day, it was about as tight as it gets. Oswego State and Hamilton went back and forth the whole way. In the first set the Lakers won, 25-22. The Continentals would come back to win two sets in a row, winning the second set, 28-26 and then the third set, 25-22. Oswego State won the fourth set, 25-23, to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
In the three times the Lakers have played in a fifth set this season, before today, they were winless. But Oswego State changed that with winning a big fifth set, 15-12. O’Connell recognized how important it was for the team to get a win in that fashion after the early season struggles it had dealt with.
“I think it’s something we have really been working on this year is closing games out. Last weekend when we had Skidmore in five we weren’t as successful as we like. We had the opportunity in a couple close games with St. Lawrence yesterday and again drop the ball. So to get right back in that situation this morning and be successful was really big for our team,” O’Connell said. “You could just see the difference in the players. They were aggressive the whole way through.”
Bailey also felt good about her team finally pulling out a decisive fifth set.
“It feels fantastic. We work so hard and we’ve not had the best luck in the past couple days in the fifth set. So to actually win the fifth set was awesome,” Bailey said.
Junior Kelsey Dillon had the most kills for the Lakers with 19. Zimmerman had the most assists with 27 and digs with 22. Sophomore Lauren Edwards also had a solid game with 10 digs and 25 assists.
Up next for the Lakers is the Geneseo Tournament next weekend. They are scheduled to play University of Rochester, Medaille College, SUNY Canton and Hilbert College over the course of Friday and Saturday. Oswego State’s next home match comes Friday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. against the College at Brockport for the beginning of SUNYAC pool play in Oswego.