The Oglethorpe volleyball team saw their regular season come to a close in style Thursday night at Dorough Field House, as they swept through the visiting Huntingdon Hawks 3-0 to finish the regular year 11-18 and win their third match in their last four tries. The Stormy Petrels hit .320 as a team on the night, including a .382 mark in the first set and a .371 tally in the third, a rate which allowed them to cruise to the 3-set victory.
The Petrels got off to an excellent start in the opening set, building an 8-3 advantage before Huntingdon could respond. After a 3-1 mini-run by the Hawks, Oglethorpe embarked on another run, this one totaling 6-1, to push their lead to 15-7. Back-to-back points by the visitors were followed by four straight from the home side, pushing the Petrels' lead to 19-9. After a brief period of trading points, Huntingdon responded with a 5-0 run to make it 22-18. However, it was Oglethorpe answering back with a 3-0 mini-spurt to take the set, 25-18.
The sides traded 2-point runs to begin the second set and found themselves knotted 7-7 early on. It would again be Oglethorpe to take control of the proceedings, though. They outscored the Hawks 8-2 over the next stretch to give themselves a 15-9 edge. After consecutive Huntingdon points, the Petrels ran off three straight to take a 19-12 lead, then traded points with their opponents for awhile. They held a 21-16 advantage late in the set and three straight finishes gave them set point at 24-16. Back-to-back Huntingdon points did not faze the Petrels, and they finished it off, 25-18.
The Hawks got off to a 4-2 lead to start the third set, but the Petrels worked their way back over the next several points and tied it 6-6. From there, the two teams went back and forth, but Huntingdon held a 16-14 edge midway through the stanza. The Petrels stormed to the victory from that point, though. They scored four straight points to turn things in their favor and finished the match on an impressive 11-3 stretch, taking the set 25-19 and the match 3-0.
Sophomore outside hitter Savanna Hockman led all participants with 14 kills and hit .458, also collecting four blocks in the process. Fellow sophomore outside hitter Santreece Stephens collected 10 kills and hit .389. Junior setter Jordan Jones had 24 assists and six digs while also recording five kills and hitting .625. Meanwhile, sophomore libero Anna Rash led all performers with 12 digs and passed out a season-high 10 assists. Sophomore middle hitter Ashlee Tolbert paced the squad with five total blocks.
"I was really pleased with our offensive performance tonight," said Oglethorpe head coach Richie Tang. "We got great production from our entire front line. I will still preach that we have to be cleaner about some of our unforced errors, but the attacks that we had were high quality overall. Our defense played well and took away a lot of what Huntingdon wanted to do on offense. I thought our block stood out in tonight's match, as well. We were able to get everyone some much needed reps on the court in live match action. Now, our full focus is on the conference tournament. We will take a few days off and then hit our practice days hard!"
The Petrels will travel to Conway, Arkansas, for the SAA Tournament, which takes place Nov. 4 through 6. They hold the No. 7 seed after tying Millsaps for sixth in the league, and take on a No. 2 seed Birmingham-Southern team that beat them twice during the regular season. The first-round matchup between the Petrels and Panthers is set to get started Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. Eastern.