After 14 matches, Oregon State volleyball will finally play at Gill
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 01:09
Oregon State University’s volleyball team will finally play at home in Gill Coliseum for their first home games of the season, with a Friday night match against Colorado at 6 p.m., then Utah on Sunday.
The Beavers (10-4, 0-2 Pac-12) fell 3-0 in their first two conference games to Oregon and UCLA last weekend, and are eager to get in the win column in conference play.
“We feel pretty confident, and we are just getting ready and prepared,” said sophomore outside hitter Arica Nassar.
After those two straight losses, the Beavers find themselves in need of a conference win. The Buffaloes (11-3, 1-1) are coming off a 3-2 loss to Cal and a 3-0 win against Utah last weekend.
It will be up to the Beaver defense — led by junior defensive specialist Becky Defoe — to stop Colorado sophomore Neira Ortiz Ruiz and freshman Alexis Austin, coming off 14 and 17 kills, respectively.
Coming out on top over Colorado is going to be crucial, because a loss would mean beginning their conference play with a 0-3 record.
The scene for the Beavers is looking very familiar. Last year, OSU got off to an 11-3 start, including winning its first two conference games over Colorado and Utah. After that, they dropped their next seven matches and ended the season at 16-16 — going 2-13 to finish the season — with an 8-14 record in the Pac-12.
OSU did, however, sweep the Buffaloes in 2011 with victories of 3-0 and 3-2.
The Beavers already have three players who have been named Pac-12 Player of the Week: Defoe, Nassar and Camille Saxton — and the season is still young, having only started just over a month ago.
Saxton and Nassar’s honors both came in the same week, when they knocked off No. 2 Penn State at the Chicago Classic.
“We were really excited,” Nassar said on defeating Penn State. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m just glad we could get the job done.”
Saxton recorded a career-high 23 kills and Defoe led the way defensively, but it was a full team effort that helped push the Beavers to victory over the powerhouse Nittany Lions.
Colorado is not the only challenge that the Beavers have to worry about this weekend; on Sunday, the Beavers will once again take to the court at Gill for a match against Utah. The Utes, similar to the Beavers, will be eager to get in a rhythm against Pac-12 opponents. They have a 9-6 overall record, and are also 0-2 in conference play. Before they make their way to Corvallis, they stop in Eugene on Friday for a match against Oregon, who is currently tied atop the Pac-12 standings with Washington and UCLA, with a 2-0 record.
With OSU’s first weekend in Corvallis this year, the pieces are in position for a bounce-back opportunity, and not another repeat of last year.
Both matches this weekend will also air live on Pac-12 Oregon.
Darryl Oliver, sports reporter