Failure to execute at critical junctures cost the Oak Ridge volleyball team as they fell to visiting Jesuit 20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 24-26 Monday.
“Our guys played really well. I think we just made a few more mistakes. The games were all very close,” Trojan coach Melanie DeMure said.
Oak Ridge hung with the Marauders throughout the first set. After falling behind 4-6, Sam Greenleaf and Storm Van Soldt connected on smashes to pull the Trojans within a point at 6-7.
Holding the hosts at bay, Jesuit took a 12-8 lead on a Mike Olenchuk ace. Oak Ridge pulled even at 15 apiece before the Marauders went on its own run to push to a 20-15 advantage. Though Oak Ridge continued to battle, Jesuit pulled the set out.
The Marauders opened the second set on a mini run and looked to be in control. But Nick Camagna’s kill succeeded by a Van Soldt smash tied the game at 4-4. Camagna’s tip fell between Jesuit defenders to give Oak Ridge its first lead of the match and after the Marauders took a 6-5 lead, Van Soldt sent a ball screaming past Jesuit defenders to tie it at 6s.
After two Jesuit hits fell out, Michael Montejano stuffed a kill attempt and Oak Ridge led 10-6. The Marauders rallied to tie it at 12-12 and the two teams traded points from there on. Tied again at 16, Oak Ridge went on a 7-2 run to take a commanding 23-18 lead. Jesuit ran off five straight points to retie but a Van Soldt kill followed by a Brock Middleton deflected hit iced it for Oak Ridge.
Jesuit took early control of the third set. Troy pulled to 9-12 on a combined Greenleaf- Middleton block, but the Marauders stretched the lead back out to 18-12 culminating with an Olenchuk ace. Oak Ridge battled back to an 18-21 score but couldn’t complete the comeback as Jesuit took the set.
The two squads were neck-and-neck the entire fourth set. Oak Ridge took a 7-6 lead on a Middleton kill before Jesuit tied it back up. Trailing 9-13, Middleton ignited an Oak Ridge charge with a kill, followed by a Van Soldt smash. Each team traded points until Camagna’s kill pulled The Trojans within two at 19-21.
A Greenleaf swipe that fell got Oak Ridge within 21-23, and after a Van Soldt kill, Jesuit faulted to gift the tying point to the Trojans. Alec Gable gave the Marauders a 24-23 lead, but Van Soldt’s hit was deflected out to tie it back up again at 24-24. An Oak Ridge serve hit the net followed by a kill on the next point that fell short to end it.
“We need to work on our blocking, but we’re right there. They played really well. We had fun, and we played well, so I can’t complain. And everyone was healthy,” Coach DeMure said after the game.
Oak Ridge (15-6, 2-2 DRL) plays Folsom today and Sheldon Friday.