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Beavers sizzle after tough start

Beaver Local's Bailey Bowersock (20) spikes the ball over the net as Oak Glen's Madi Balch (4) leaps for a block attempt. (Photo by Anthony Fiuza)

CALCUTTA — After losing its first set to Oak Glen volleyball, Beaver Local recharged its batteries and rallied for a 3-1 win on Thursday night.

The Golden Bears (5-5) rolled to a 25-16 win in the first set, but the Beavers (10-1) captured the next three sets, 25-15, 25-22, 25-12.

“I think Beaver Local is a very good program. This is their year,” Oak Glen coach Morgan Poling said. “They have eight seniors and we’re fairly young. We showed up tonight and took them to four sets I’m really proud of my girls.”

The Beavers had their fair share of mistakes early in the contest as Oak Glen put its foot on the gas offensively.

“Oak Glen came out strategically smart, ready to play the match. We came out with a lot of unforced errors. We had trouble picking up some of their placements of the ball,” Beaver Local coach Sarah Lowe said.

She added that Beaver Local was able to right the ship by making a few key adjustments.

“When we got down to those final points, I was glad to see us stop the unforced errors and really start pounding the ball like we’ve been,” Lowe said. “Our defense helped pick things up in the back row to lead that offensive attack. Our setters made up for short balls that were hitting the ground tonight.”

Oak Glen was tied with Beaver Local at 16-16 in the third set, before the Beavers grinded out another set win.

“We really brought it together and we started to play very scrappy and sometimes that’s better,” said Beaver Local senior Leah Riccardo.

The Beavers got strong offensive production from Elizabeth Kolkowski who posted 10 kills. Brooke Talbot had eight kills and 13 digs. Leah Riccardo had four kills and four digs. Grace Hill recorded eight kills and five blocks. Bailey Bowersock added 13 digs and two kills.

Beaver Local beat the Golden Bears in three sets on Sept. 1 at Oak Glen High School.

But, Oak Glen wasn’t the same team the Beavers faced in that first meeting of the year.

“The first time we played them, we knew they didn’t have one of their defensive specialists in Sydney Smith. She helps them a lot and she’s a good player,” Riccardo explained. “But, I think that just made us work the ball away from her. Also, their libero does a really good job.”

Despite the loss, the Golden Bears are heading in the right direction and have improved as the season has progressed.

“I think when you bring in a young group of girls you have to get them to grow. I feel like they have really embraced their roles this year,” Poling said. “Wherever we throw them on any given night is something they embrace. They play their best and tonight they did just that.”

Oak Glen’s Ashlyn Six had 18 kills, Emma Renfro had five kills and two blocks. Gracie Wright had 22 assists and four aces.

Beaver Local will host East Liverpool for Volley for a Cure on Saturday.

Oak Glen visits Tyler on Saturday.

Game notes

-The Golden Bears have won just three out of their last 15 sets.

-Oak Glen hasn’t beaten Beaver Local since 2019, the year the program went 38-0.

-The Beavers have won five straight matches dating back to Sept. 8.

-Beaver Local has won 34 out of 40 sets played this season.

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