The Oswego State women’s volleyball team was determined from the start and played well against Morrisville State College en route to a dominating three-set victory Tuesday night.
Deciding to start youth over experience, head coach J.J. O’Connell placed four freshmen in his starting lineup, including setter Lauren Edwards, right-side hitter Meaghan Roefs, outside hitter Emma Moriarty and middle hitter Megan Russell.
“We have better athletes this year amongst the freshmen,” O’Connell said. “They give us more physicality at the net, which is always important.”
Senior outside hitter Sabrina Sutton, junior middle blocker Stephanie Bailey and the Libero, sophomore Rachel Ruggaber, rounded out the starting lineup for Oswego State.
After seeing her team fall behind 3-0 in the first set, Sutton gained six consecutive service points to put the Lakers ahead. Morrisville State evened things up, but the Lakers won 17 of the next 20 points to put themselves comfortably ahead 23-9 in a set that resulted in a 25-11 win.
The first set marked the tone for the rest of the game. Oswego State played nearly mistake-free, while Morrisville State’s constant errors, including double touches, hitting the ball too far out of bounds and lack of communication led to their demise.
The second set was similar to the first. After both teams seemed to be even with a score of 6-5, Oswego State gained points quickly and efficiently, winning 19 of the last 22 points to take the set 25-8.
The Lakers went on a run and won 10 straight points in the set, due in part to utility player, sophomore Emily Wasler, who gained 10 consecutive service points. Wasler also led Oswego State in service aces with five total.
Perhaps the player with the biggest impact on the team was freshman Lauren Edwards. The setter had 22 of the teams 35 total assists. Her performance helped set up plays for the outside hitters and led to easy points.
Oswego State started to show some fatigue in the third set after gaining a 19-10 lead. The Lakers allowed Morrisville State to cut the lead to 20-17, prompting O’Connell to call a timeout and give his players a breather.
Following the timeout, they were able close out the set for a 25-17 win in the set, as well as the match.
One standout point from the match for the Lakers was the consistency in which their serves went over the net and stayed in play.
“We do a lot of drills in practice,” O’Connell said. “We do one that’s called the short serve challenge. The challenge is that at every practice, out of all the girls there, at least ten of them have to serve the ball over the net at 10 feet or less.”
Oswego State will begin a four-game stretch at home as part of the Oswego State Tournament this weekend. The Lakers will play two games on both Friday and Saturday at Max Ziel Gymnasium.
The team will open Friday with a match at 4 p.m. vs. SUNYIT before playing Marywood University at 8 p.m. The tournament continues on Saturday with the Lakers hosting St. Lawrence University at 10 a.m. before competing against Wells College at noon.