Beavers Complete Comeback, Beat Lobos in Five


SEATTLE, Wash. – The Oregon State volleyball team, riddled by injury and illness, completed a comeback bid defeating New Mexico in the teams’ opening match at the Redhawk Invitational Friday afternoon. Fifth-year senior Shekinah Clarke enjoyed a career match, tying for the team-lead with 15 kills including the final point of the match to help lead the Beavers with the win.

“It was a great effort today especially considering we are missing four outside hitters and so many playing out of position,” head coach Mark Barnard said. “We did a really good job of coping with our circumstances this week and then even changing the lineup further during the match. It is hard to win when you’re not at your best, but today we learn a little bit about winning when its ugly.”

For the Beavers, who improved to 4-2, it was an uneven performance with several players out of position and all three starting outside hitters sidelined. The loss drops New Mexico to 2-5. Set scores were 25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 25-22 and 15-10.

The Beavers fell behind early, 9-3, in the first set as they worked out the kinks in their unusual lineup. But a 6-0 run knotted the score at 9 giving the Beavers a bit of life. OSU fell back again before using another burst to tie the score at 17-17. The Beavers took their first lead in the midst of a 5-0 run at 22-21 forcing a pair of New Mexico timeouts as Serena Bruin and Clarke each recorded a kill and then combined for a block to finish the run. OSU held on to take the opening set, 25-22.

In the second set, OSU carried the momentum early gaining a 9-6 advantage as Haylie Bennett, who tied Clarke with 15 kills to lead the squad, began to heat up with three kills out of the gate. The Lobos closed the gap and tied the score at 10 and again at 19 before taking their first lead at 21-20. UNM took advantage of the Beavers’ sputtering offense to steal the set, 25-22, evening the match.

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The third set was a give and take up to the midway point. With the score tied at 11, the Lobos used a 6-0 surge to stretch a lead to 17-13. They would refuse to give up the lead taking the third set, 25-18, to go up 2-1 in the match.

Oregon State came out of the break between sets re-energized bolting to a 9-2 lead Bennett registered a pair of kills and Clarke and Lindsey Schell put the ball on the floor and Grace Massey collected one of her three aces during the flurry. The teams settled in the rest of the way with the Lobos closing the gap to two points at 23-21, but it was too little, too late. Bennett and Cheshire each registered three kills and the Beavers recorded four blocks in the set to win the set, 25-22, and tie the match at two sets apiece.

The Beavers took control of the fifth set quickly springing to a 6-2 on back-to-back blocks by Bennett to force a Lobo timeout. OSU continued to press the attack as kills from Bennett, Clarke, Serena Bruin and Kory Cheshire gave the Beavers the lead at 11-6 leading to another UNM timeout. The Beavers held on to secure the win, 15-10.  Cheshire and Clarke each tallied three kills and the Beavers posted four blocks in the shortened set.

Game Notes: Fifth-year senior Shekinah Clarke, who missed the majority of the 2018 season due to a knee injury, made her first start setting career-bests in kills (15), attacks (44), digs (8), blocks (2) and aces (1) … sixth-year senior Kory Cheshire, who moved from her customary middle blocker position, to start at right-side hitter recorded a career-high 23 digs … setter Maddie Sheehan also set a career-high with 22 digs to go with a season-high 42 assists … senior Serena Bruin registered the first ace of her career … Grace Massey tied her career-high with three aces … the Beavers played without OH Chloe Brown (injury), OPP Nya Buckner (injury), OH Maddie Goings (injury), OH Cecilee Max-Brown (illness), MB Amya Small (injury) and OH Amy Underdown (injury)

Next Up: Oregon State is back on the court at the Redhawk Center for two matches tomorrow. The Beavers take on Gonzaga at 2 p.m. and then the host, Seattle, at 6 p.m. to complete the Redhawk Invitational.