Grenadiers break out brooms in home opener

IUS Volleyball welcomes Oakland City into RSC with sweep in season opener

Senior+Alexis+Bassett+prepares+to+serve+during+the+IUS+Volleyball+team%27s+season+opener+against+Oakland+City+University.

Joe Glover, IU Southeast Athletic Director

Senior Alexis Bassett prepares to serve during the IUS Volleyball team’s season opener against Oakland City University.

Brandon Miniard, Sports Editor

Having become a full member of the River States Conference on July 1, Oakland City entered the Activities Building on Thursday looking to get their first victory in the conference since 1975, back when the conference was the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). The Oaks were part of the KIAC from 1968-1975 before becoming an NCAA Division II Independent institution.

Their hopes were quickly dashed when they began their match against the IU Southeast Volleyball team. The Grenadiers welcomed the Oaks into the RSC in dominating fashion, needing just over an hour to sweep their newest conference rivals in three sets — 25-13, 25-16, 25-16.

“Coming into the match, I think everybody was just excited to play,” Head Coach Eric Brian said. “We’re grateful to just have an opportunity to play.”

The Oaks struggled early in the first set, committing five errors as the Grenadiers started the set on a 6-1 run. While the Oaks lowered the deficit to 9-6, the Grenadiers answered by scoring 11 of the next 12 points, their offense and more Oaks errors carrying them to a 25-13 set victory.

The second set started much worse for the Oaks, as the Grenadier offense bludgeoned their way on a 19-8 surge. The Oaks once again tried to get back into the game, including a valiant 7-1 run, but the Grenadiers scored the final three points to lock down the second set 25-16.

The third and final set proved a near reenactment of the second, as the Grenadiers went on another 19-8 rampage to start the period. A second 7-1 run by the Oaks gave them hope of making the match competitive before an Emilee Organ kill ended the match 25-16, dropping the Oaks to 0-2 (0-2 RSC) on the year.

With the victory, the young, versatile Grenadiers start the year 1-0 (1-0 RSC) in a strange 2020 season that’s being closely monitored due to the looming onslaught of COVID-19.

“I feel like we’ve all been taking the necessary precautions, and there hasn’t been any hesitancy as far as safety,” Brian said. “We’re doing things such as no switching sides, no handshakes, things like that, so I don’t think there’s any concerns there.”

Statistically, the Grenadiers dominated the Oaks in almost every category. Senior Hannah Sipe recorded 27 of the Grenadiers 34 assists, heavily eclipsing the nine recorded by the Oaks. Bassett led the Grenadiers with eight kills, while juniors Delaney Nichols and Jennie Malone had seven. The Grenadiers murdered the Oaks regarding kills 35-9.

Defensively, the Grenadiers were lifted by the efforts of senior Kenna Burman and sophomore Santina Schembra. Schembra led the Grenadiers with 14 digs, while Burman, the 2018 RSC Defender of the Year, chipped in 13.

“Our hitters and defense were both just working really hard,” Sipe said of the victory. “We put the ball away a lot and moved the ball around a lot setting-wise.”

The freshmen class also had significant contributions for the Grenadiers, led by Organ. The North Knox High School product started her collegiate career emphatically, notching six assists and six kills, the sixth of which ended the match.

“With this being my first collegiate match, I was a little nervous,” Organ admitted. “But as the match went on, the team kind of flowed, so we got more comfortable together.”

The Grenadiers were originally scheduled to travel to Indiana Tech on Friday, September 18, for two matches with Huntington University and the aforementioned Foresters, but those matches have been postponed. Instead, the Grenadiers get to enjoy an entire week off before hosting Asbury on Friday, September 25. That match will start at 7:00 p.m. and will be live-streamed on https://portal.stretchinternet.com/ius/.