By Ainsley Davis and Zach Curtin
Oak Hall claimed their fourth playoff victory over Jacksonville’s Harvest Community. The match featured excellent performances from both sides, however, the Eagles would ultimately do enough to take a decisive set five.
Oak Hall Survives a Warriors Run
The Eagles survived a Harvest Community rally to take set one 25-23. Oak Hall freshman Amelia Chen got the action started with three quick aces, forcing a warriors timeout with the score at 6-1. The Warriors would use the stoppage to their advantage, quickly tying the match behind freshman Pria Adhikari’s four consecutive aces.
With the momentum seemingly shifted Eagles’ junior Pene Moser would take matters into her own hands, landing a decisive kill after a long rally to regain the lead 10-9. However, the Warriors would continue to apply pressure, scoring four unanswered points, led by freshman Taylor Marts. The Eagles, now trailing 19-14 were in desperate need of a run. Chen and Poser would provide some much-needed offensive assistance, allowing Oak Hall to regain and lead and ultimately take a set one victory.
@OakHallSchool takes a tight set one 25-23. @ESPNGainesville pic.twitter.com/UJPZbb1J9p
— Zachary Curtin (@zachary_curtin) October 29, 2022
The Eagles Keep Rolling
Oak Hall took another step towards advancing, with a set two win 26-24. Immediately, Moser would get the action started for the Eagles, tallying two kills. Even with an early lead Oak Hall was plagued by errors, allowing the Warriors to reclaim the lead. 7-5. The Eagles struggled to defend from the power of senior Danielle Worthy, whose two quick kills forced an Oak Hall timeout, with the score at 18-13.
Needing a rally, the Eagles would go on an eight-point run, powered by sophomore Cassidy McDonald’s three aces. Worthy would continue to carry the offensive load, knotting the set at 24-24. Ultimately, two straight errors would end the Warriors as Oak Hall moved one step closer to closing the match.
The Warriors Hang On
Harvest Community would prevent a match sweep, with a 25-20 set three victory. The Eagles hoped to end the match with yet another match sweep. They started off strong with a 3-1 lead with help from an ace by freshman Lizzie Cannon and a huge spike and kill by Moser. After multiple errors by both teams, the score stood at 5-3 favoring the Eagles. With multiple kills and a block by Worthy, the Warriors took the lead, 5-7.
Shortly after, the Eagles came back and started to look as confident as they were in the earlier sets with an ace, two kills, and three forced errors to put them back on top, 10-7. They continued to lead until the Warriors went on a run after tying the score at 18. The combination of four Oak Hall errors and five warrior kills would decide the set, in favor of Harvest Community.
The Warriors Continue to Push Back
The Warriors would continue to fight back, tying the match with a 25-20 set four win. After losing some momentum in the third set, the Eagles hoped to regain strength and end the match. After the Warriors took the lead 1-0, Oak Hall’s Moser gave the team some energy with a matching kill. However, the team’s confidence and composure seemed to unravel with multiple errors.
The Warriors looked strong and took an early 3-8 lead. Oak Hall was never able to keep up, even with the help of Moser’s multiple kills and blocks. The Eagles showed a little hope, closing the gap to 15-16 to keep the crowd rowdy. With multiple errors and a dominant performance by Harvest Community’s Marts, the Warriors were able to effectively force a fifth set.
Oak Hall Closes in Dominant Fashion
Oak Hall was finally able to silence the Warriors comeback, 15-3 in set five. The Eagles showed some aggression in the opening of the last set with 2 straight kills from Moser and a forced Warrior error. This trend would continue, and with the help of the crowd, Oak Hall dominated the set, only allowing 3 Harvest Community points. The Eagles ended in a decisive victory, 15-3.
The Eagles look to build off of this performance by ending matches much more quickly, prohibiting their opponents from making it interesting. Oak Hall will now take on Christ’s Church Academy, on Nov. 1.