The Phoenix used some aggressive serving to come from behind more than once in the match, including a seven-point service run in the second set from sophomore Kayliana Barbee to dig out of a 15-10 hole and take a 17-15 lead.
Considering Oberlin (7-8, 6-5) has struggled to stay consistent with its serving all season, coach Sharhonda Rankin said she was excited to finally see her team not only serve consistently but aggressively as well.
“Our serve game this year, we went from having a really good service game last year to I don’t know if we’re going to get the ball over this year,” Rankin said.
In Set 3, the Phoenix took advantage of a couple more service runs, this time of five and six points, to keep Wellington (4-11, 1-10) at bay after the Dukes tied the game having been down 9-2 early.
Barbee, who also had eight kills for Oberlin, said it took a lot of focus but she was glad to finally have that part of her game come together.
“You really have to focus on it because sometimes the other team, they know how you’re going to serve and you really have to think about it,” Barbee said. “We struggle with serving a lot and for that to finally happen it was nice.”
Junior Karissa Rankin added eight kills for the Phoenix who, when firing on all cylinders in the third set, were able to run plays on offense that they haven’t all season, boosting their confidence as they beat the Dukes, 25-14, in Set 3.
“I think towards the end of the game we definitely started using the court more and seeing open spots,” Karissa said. “That was really the key to the whole game.
“We’ve been trying to run our plays for the longest time ever and it just hasn’t been working. Usually we forget or it’s just not a good pass, but once we got that one kill with Kayliana where we did a slide and a quick, I think that really boosted our confidence.”
Wellington coach Rebecca Rohrbach was frustrated by her team’s poor serve receive against Oberlin but is encouraged by their ability to remain steady as a unit, and said she will continue to push her team through the final few weeks of the season.
“For some reason, our record does not depict the talent that we have,” Rohrbach said. “And when we do get serve receive and we do get offense and we’re putting the ball down, obviously you’re going to be back in system. When we’re out of system, we’re not making a good play on (the ball). And they know how to do that I just think it’s a confidence factor. But they’re building on that.
“We’ve got two weeks left in the season and we’re going to keep pushing.”
Wellington hosts Open Door in a nonconference game Oct. 3 while Oberlin travels to Lutheran West to take on the second-place Longhorns.