Both at home and on the road, the mojo was right for the Oberlin Phoenix women as they emerged undefeated in a week of conference matches.
Squaring off on the home hardwood with Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes rival Columbia, coach Sharhonda Rankin’s squad found its stride early and stuck with it throughout the match, cruising to a 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-18) straight set win over the Raiders.
She was pleased with the team’s focus: “We’ve battled all season to concentrate for the course of a full match. Tonight, we did a pretty good job of that. And I’m confident the girls will get even better as we get deeper into the season.”
After besting the Raiders, the Phoenix hit the road for a match with the undefeated (5-0 PAC) Brooklyn Hurricanes.
Playing some of their better ball of the young season, the Phoenix jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind some stellar defense, led by Mar’Reiyonna Froust with 20 digs on the night. On the offensive side, Karissa Rankin (15 kills), Kayliana Barbee (12 kills), and Lauren Sands (21 assists) led the charge.
The Hurricanes regrouped and evened the match at 2-2, before Oberlin reasserted itself, winning the fifth and deciding set and the match 3-2 (26-24, 25-23, 17-25, 10-25, 15-13).
The win some tense, pressure-packed moments in the fifth set, but Rankin called it “another step.”
“There are some good teams out there, and we’ll have to play our best set in and set out to compete with them. The good news is, these girls can do it. This is a good win for the program and a good test for the girls as we start thinking about tournament time,” she said.