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Firelands vs. Oberlin volleyball: Falcons pick up first win

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Firelands Emily Squires spikes the ball over Tiffani Burke and Nya Grady- Norman of Oberlin. Randy Meyers -- The Morning Journal

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Briana Bowyer of Firelands spikes the ball over Lauren Sands, left, and Kayliana Barbee of Oberlin during the first game.
Briana Bowyer of Firelands spikes the ball over Lauren Sands, left, and Kayliana Barbee of Oberlin during the first game. Randy Meyers — The Morning Journal

Firelands traveled to Oberlin Aug. 31 for a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover game and held off the hard-hitting Phoenix for a gritty 3-2 win — the Falcons’ first of the young season.

First-year coach Jordan Kolarik gathered her team after the fifth set, which Firelands won, 15-8, for an emotional postgame talk in which she praised her team for stepping up and grinding out a win on the road against a tough Oberlin team.

“That was a tough match,” Kolarik said. “Oberlin, they really gave us a good fight and their outside hitters we had a hard time stopping at first. It was just such a close battle.”

The difference, Kolarik said, were her seniors, especially captains McKenna Turton and Hannah Reynolds, who pushed their teammates to the brink and urged them to step up the intensity.

“One of our main motivators is our energy on the court,” Turton said. “If we’re not communicating, our passes go down the drain, our hitting goes down the drain, so once our energy levels went up, it really brought our intensity of play up.

“We really stepped it up. (Oberlin) had really good line hits by Karissa (Rankin). I give her mad props. She’s great. We really tried, and once we started to get blocks and block touches, it was easier to get passes up.”

Despite getting outhit by the Phoenix throughout the match, the Firelands hitters settled in that fifth set, recording eight kills to Oberlin’s three.

Turton led the Falcons (1-1) with nine kills and 16 assists while fellow senior Briana Bowyer had seven and sophomore Samantha Walcott five. Hannah Reynolds had 27 digs and three aces for Firelands.

Rankin led all players with 20 kills and Kayliana Barbee had 12 for Oberlin (2-5).

Firelands returns home after the holiday weekend to host Brooklyn Sept. 5 while Oberlin will travel to Medina to face Buckeye.

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    Thinking of our friends in @CHSRaiders today. #healtogether

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