The Oglethorpe volleyball team had a tough evening Thursday at Woodruff Gym in Decatur. They took on the homestanding Agnes Scott Scotties and the No. 4 Emory Eagles in a tri-match and fell in both contests, dropping a tough 3-2 decision to Agnes Scott before getting swept by the nationally-ranked Eagles, 3-0.
The Stormy Petrels were slow to get going against the homestanding Scotties, falling 25-18 in the first set and 25-14 in the second. They found their footing in the third set, though, and came battling back into the match. They led 7-6 in the early-going, but built a 10-6 lead with a three-point run. Agnes Scott answered with a 6-1 run of their own, building a 13-12 advantage, but the Petrels came right back with a 6-0 stretch to extend their lead to 18-13. The Scotties got as close as three points, but a 3-0 run put Oglethorpe back in charge of the stanza, which they went on to win 25-19.
The Petrels continued to fight back in the fourth set. They traded points with Agnes Scott until it was 9-9, but the Scotties pulled back ahead with an 8-3 run. That gave them a 17-12 lead and put them on the verge of putting the match away. Oglethorpe had other ideas, though, as they rallied with a 7-1 run to take the lead from Agnes Scott, 20-19. The Scotties took the lead back with consecutive points, but it was the Petrels who played better down the stretch. They reeled off three straight to take the lead back, 23-21, then put the set away, 25-23, forcing a decisive fifth.
Oglethorpe started well in the final stanza, building a 4-1 advantage early, but Agnes Scott responded with a 10-3 run to turn the frame around, pushing out to an 11-7 lead. The Petrels stopped the run there, but were unable to go on one of their own. The Scotties put the match away with a 15-11 win in the final set.
The Petrels got some outstanding individual performances in the match. Freshman outside hitter Jacoby Sims collected 22 kills, while senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Woodruff recorded 11 kills and hit .500 for the match. Junior outside hitter Santreece Stephens tallied 12 kills, as well. Senior setter Jordan Jones passed out 43 assists and pulled 15 digs, while sophomore libero Taryn North led the team with 22 digs. Junior middle hitter Ashlee Tolbert led all participants with six total blocks.
The Petrels took on No. 4 Emory in their second match of the evening. Oglethorpe hung in against a tough opponent, especially in the first two sets. The two teams played the early part of the first set even, and the score was 8-8 at one point. However, Emory embarked on a 7-0 run from there to push out to a 15-8 advantage, then followed that up with a 6-0 stretch to take a 22-11 lead. The Petrels didn't go quietly, but Emory eventually took the set, 25-16.
Oglethorpe was very competitive early in the second set, as well. They held an 8-7 lead at one point, but the Eagles responded with a 4-0 run to make it 11-8. The Petrels continued to push, tying the score at 11-11 and 13-13. However, Emory went on an 11-4 run from that point, taking control of the stanza and winning it, 25-18.
The third set was tied 5-5 early, but the Eagles took control of the proceedings with an 8-1 stretch, building a 13-6 lead. They went on a 7-1 run after that, extending their advantage to 21-10 and all but putting the match away. They eventually won the set 25-13, clinching the match.
Sims led the team in kills again, recording 10. Jones passed out 24 assists, while North led all participants in digs with 15.
"We did not play the way we are capable of in the first two sets of the Agnes Scott match," said Oglethorpe head coach Joseph Goodson. "We played much better in the next two, but gave ourselves no room for error. I thought we played pretty well against Emory in stretches, but they're a very good team. If we can play like we did against Emory and in the third and fourth sets against Agnes Scott, we're gonna have a chance to win some matches down the stretch. We just have to keep our focus."
The Petrels will next be in action over the weekend, when they head back out on the road in SAA play. They'll first go to Conway, Arkansas, on Saturday, where they'll take on Hendrix at 1 p.m. Eastern. After that, they'll continue to Memphis, Tennessee, where they'll go against Rhodes Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern.