The Golden Hurricane volleyball team opened up conference play hosting Cincinnati and East Carolina, splitting the two games. Tulsa came into Thursday’s game riding a nine-game winning streak, but fell to the Bearcats in a match that went the distance. But even as their winning streak came to an end, the Golden Hurricane bounced back with a win over East Carolina on Saturday.
The Bearcats, favored to win the American Athletic Conference in the preseason polls, came into town with a 5–6 overall record in nonconference play.
Cincinnati took the early lead in the first set, but Erica Bohannon and Jaime Rahilly helped the Golden Hurricane keep it close throughout the set before a 5–0 Bearcat run gave Cincinnati the 1–0 set lead.
Cincinnati took the lead again in the second set, but Tulsa rallied back in the second half of the set rattling off six straight points in large part due to Trinity Alualu and Rebecca Reeve. They outscored the Bearcats 14–5 in the second half of the set to tie the match at one set-apiece.
Tulsa committed 10 attacking errors in the third set, giving Cincinnati a big lead, and couldn’t rebound from the deficit. Going into the break Tulsa trailed Cincinnati 1–2. The fourth set was close throughout, but Tulsa pulled through and took the 25–23 win for to force a fifth set.
In the fifth set the score was tied up seven times (which is almost half the duration, since the fifth set is only played to 15 points). But Cincinnati scored two kills at the very end to squeak out a 15–13 win and take the match.
Brooke Berryhill’s 20 digs in the match made her the second layer in Tulsa history to have more than 2,000 digs in her career.
After dropping the first set to East Carolina on Saturday, the Golden Hurricane recovered to win the next three straight. Reeve played a huge part in the win with 16 kills, seven of which came in the second set to tie the match.
“She [Reeve] played unbelievable, especially offensively today. She takes a huge load for us. She passes, she digs, she’s our only full six rotation player out there. She has a lot of responsibility for us and it was a huge match for her offensively, she was just rolling. She did a good job knowing what the defense was doing to her, taking advantage of it, and had some really good swings because of it,” Head Coach Ryan Wills said post-match.
Tulsa ran away with the second, third and fourth sets winning by eight, seven and eight respectively.
“I think we just executed in the serve pass-game [after the first set]. We were a little bit more efficient offensively in the second set, doubling our kills with about the same amount of errors. Our serving came along and our passing allowed us to get in a rhythm when some other things weren’t working well.”
Next up for TU is a road trip to take on Houston and Tulane next weekend.