Oglethorpe Volleyball Storms Back from Two Sets Down to Clip Sewanee, 3-2

The Oglethorpe volleyball team stormed back from two sets down Saturday to win three sets in a row and stun the homestanding Sewanee Tigers 3-2 in Sewanee, Tennessee. The Stormy Petrels used a 25-16 victory in the third set and a 27-25 win in the fourth set after being down to match point at 24-23 to force a decisive fifth set. The Petrels won the final set 15-13 to claim the comeback victory, which improved the team to 8-10 on the season overall and 2-7 in SAA play.

After losing the first set 25-19 and the second 25-21, the Petrels began their comeback from there. They got off to an excellent start in the third set, outscoring the Tigers 10-3 to open the stanza. Sewanee responded with an 8-1 run of their own, tying the score 11-11. Oglethorpe went on another five-point run, though, and rebuilt a 16-11 advantage. After a brief period of trading points, the Petrels all but put the set away with six straight points to extend their lead to 24-14. They eventually closed it out, 25-16.

The fourth set proved to be the turning point of the match. Sewanee took an early 4-1 advantage, but the two teams proceeded to largely trade points after that. The Petrels slowly pushed their way back into the set, and a three-point run later in the stanza pulled them to within one, 17-16. The tight set continued and a two-point run a short time later allowed Oglethorpe to tie the score, 19-19. The teams proceeded to trade points as the set moved into the latter stages. The two sides found themselves tied at 22-apiece and 23-apiece, but the Tigers attained match point when they went ahead 24-23. Oglethorpe responded with back-to-back points of their own to take a 25-24 lead, attaining a set point of their own. Sewanee staved it off, but the Petrels finished back-to-back points from there to win the set, 27-25, and force a deciding fifth.

The Petrels built a small lead in the fifth and used that to secure the comeback victory. They went ahead 5-2, then slowly pushed that to a 9-5 advantage. Three consecutive Sewanee points cut the Oglethorpe advantage to 9-8, but the Petrels pushed it back out with three straight points of their own. The Tigers managed to tie things up at 13-13, but the Petrels ended the proceedings by finishing back-to-back points to secure the 15-13 victory in the set.

The Petrels were led by sophomore outside hitters Savanna Hockman and Ashlee Tolbert, as well as junior setter Jordan Jones and junior middle hitter Kaitlyn Woodruff. Hockman finished 14 kills and pulled 19 digs while Jones passed out a match-high 32 assists and recorded 16 digs of her own.Tolbert recorded 14 digs, while Woodruff put away 11 kills and hit a match-high .379. Sophomore libero Anna Rash led all performers with 22 digs. 

"I'm really proud of our team effort and energy today," said Oglethorpe head coach Richie Tang. "It was really satisfying to be down 0-2 and come back to win against a scrappy and always well-coached Sewanee squad. I thought our defense played very strong all five sets to give our offense a chance to swing and win points.  We had tremendous effort offensively from Jordan, Ashlee, Kaitlyn and Savanna. Our team has battled some illness this week and I'm so proud of our kids for playing with a lot of mental and physical toughness."
The Petrels will continue onto Danville, Kentucky, on Sunday to take on Centre at noon. After that, they'll return to Atlanta to take on No. 6 Emory and Agnes Scott at Emory on Wednesday.