Oyster River Bobcats Played the Gilford Golden Eagles in an Intense Five Set Match
The previously undefeated girls volleyball teams, Oyster River and Gilford, squared off Tuesday night in a game that would define the top of the division two standings. The last time the two teams met, Gilford knocked the Bobcats out of the playoffs in a five set match. More tension was added as six Oyster River fans were thrown out, taking some of the loudest students from the fan section.
Cohen was one of Oyster River’s two key players, contributing 22 serves and 18 assists during the game. Coming off of a thrilling 3-2 comeback against Plymouth (4-2) helped to motivate the team. “[Plymouth] helped our confidence a lot; we definitely were going through these wins with teams that we didn’t struggle with. […] Plymouth definitely challenged us and we were like ‘wow we can actually do that.’”
Gibb was the other standout player for the Bobcats Tuesday, with 8 kills, 22 ATT (spikes that lead to points), and 13 assists. In between the excitement of Plymouth and Gilford, Oyster River eased off with a clean sweep of Manchester West. “We are coming from a really slow paced game, so we need to put in a lot of energy to play and make sure we’re on,” Gibb concluded.
One of the problems that coincided with Gibb’s point appeared in the first set. “We tend to start slow a lot, […] it’s not a good thing obviously, we just struggle to play right away,” Cohen explained. After losing the 1st and 2nd set, 22-25 and 18-25 respectively, the Bobcats looked set to be swept in three by the Golden Eagles.
Andy Lathrop recounted what happened following the first set; “I was running the scoreboard and the referee stopped play and got down from his chair. He started walking towards the table […] and he instructed me to remove the five or six kids that were over there for making noise during the rally.”
Jack Bishop was among the six students that the referee forced to leave. Bishop explained “We were cheering for our team, yelling ‘white’ and everything, nothing against the other team at all, and the ref came over and said ‘if you cheer while they’re playing you can get kicked out.’” Lathrop said that he, “didn’t really have a huge problem [with the fans], but we have to respect the officials.”
Henry, another superfan, commented that “[I] found out later that these fans were not breaking any rules, so many of the guys soccer team decided to go to the game and cheer as loud as we could. I think it showed that the fans really help teams to move forward in a way that motivates them.”
“We were definitely reading ahead of time, communication was up, and we were playing as a team,” Gibb emphasized following the game. With the third set in hand, the Bobcats took control of the game and won the 4th set resoundingly 25-16 following 11 serves by Kathryn Cohen. Gibb concluded, “we were playing altogether as a team instead of six individuals on a court.”
Following the adrenaline boost by Oyster River in the 4th set, the Golden Eagles started strong in the 5th, breaking into a 6-1 lead. They maintained this gap throughout the 15 point set to win by seven. Gibb explained that “once they got the serve and were rattling off points to us, we got timid, although we all wanted it really bad.”
Abby Warren (‘19) from Gilford recalled, “we prepped the most for this game out of any of our games before. We were definitely coming into this game knowing that [Oyster River] are probably our hardest competition this season.”
Head Coach Cassandra Sweatt said pregame that the ORHS girls are, “becoming more consistent, and we’re learning how to fight a little more consistently.” Following their first loss, the team will try and bounce back. Varney, with 7 blocks Tuesday, declared that, “we have to prove that we are not just a defeated team now, that we can bounce back from a big loss.” The girls face undefeated Saint Thomas (6-0) away this Friday.
Written by Quinn Wilson
*The original article did not clarify that the referee forced the six fans to leave. The updated article represents that to the best of our ability.