The Oglethorpe volleyball team built a two-set lead over SAA opponent Centre Saturday at Dorough Field House, but the visiting Colonels won three sets in a row after that to come back and defeat Oglethorpe 3-2. It was the second consecutive match in which the Petrels held a 2-0 lead but went on to lose. The defeat dropped Oglethorpe to 5-7 on the season overall and 0-4 in conference play.
Things got off to a good start in the opening set for the Petrels. The Colonels built an early lead in the first set, pushing that advantage out to 13-9. The two teams traded points for a time, but Centre used a 5-1 run to build a 20-14 lead. However, the Petrels began their comeback from there. They outscored the Colonels 12-4 over the remainder of the set to take it 26-24.
The second set got off to another good start for the home team, as they got off to an early 6-3 lead. They extended that advantage to 11-6 and later led 16-11. Centre mounted a comeback, however, running off five straight points and going on an 8-1 run to come back and take a 21-19 lead. However, the Petrels managed to come back and turn the tables on Centre, taking the second set 25-23.
Up 2-0, the Petrels had a chance to take the third set. They led 14-11 before the Colonels went on a 5-1 run, then led 20-18 late in the stanza. However, a Centre run at the end gave them a 25-21 victory. Much the same happened in the fourth set, with the Petrels building an early advantage. They led 14-12 midway through the set, but Centre turned the tables with a run that pushed them ahead 19-15. The two teams traded points from there, but the Colonels came out with a 25-21 fourth-set victory.
Centre controlled much of the fifth set. They built a 9-5 advantage midway through the stanza and maintained that edge throughout most of the rest of the period. The Petrels mounted a late rally to tie the score at 14-14 and 16-16, but Centre put the match away 18-16.
For the game, senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Woodruff led the team with 14 kills and hit .314 for the match. Sophomore libero Anna Rash recorded a game-high 30 digs while freshman setter Brianna Hernandez recorded 20 assists and 20 digs.
"I'm really proud of the way we took the first two sets today," said Oglethorpe head coach Richie Tang. "Unfortunately, we failed to close out the match for the second straight time. It's difficult to take another loss like this, but when I take a step back and look at the makeup of our team, we're still very young and we're continuing to build the program. I see that we're making the right progressions, but we have to continue to be mentally and physically tough to close out these matches. I'm really proud of the way Anna and Brianna played tonight. I thought they played really well."
The Petrels will take on the Sewanee Tigers Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern from Dorough Field House.