The Oyster River Girls Volleyball team opened at home on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over Kingswood. The Bobcats were led by two newcomers to the team, junior transfer Maggie Sylvester and freshman Emma Hampton. Both played key roles in securing the Bobcats second win of the season.
The Bobcats battled back from a 0-4 deficit to tie the game early at 10. Big kills from Sylvester allowed Oyster River to gain momentum. The Bobcats were able to take the lead, forcing a Kingswood timeout at 19-16. Key serving allowed Oyster River to take the first set 25-18. Sylvester noted that fan support was key for the Bobcats throughout the game. “Once we went on that first rally it was great. The fans really pushed us,” said Sylvester.
The second set saw the Bobcats take an early lead behind a pair of kills by Sylvester (14 total). Sylvester was able to change up her attack throughout the game balancing power with off speed shots. “I like to roll shots into open spots and use the block,” she said. Sylvester was a huge addition to the team this year. “Maggie came out of nowhere, being a transfer from Coe Brown, but she is an extreme asset filling a much needed outside hitter position,” said assistant coach Isabelle Fradillada.
Kingswood went on a 5 point run bringing the score to 22-17, forcing Oyster River to call a timeout. Back to back kills from Sylvester and senior Corinne Quaglieri (8 kills) brought the Bobcats back to 22 a piece. Kingswood was able to serve out the second set 25-22
The third set started off tight with highs and lows from the service line by both teams. Sylvester put the Bobcats up 5-4 with a cross court kill followed by a service ace from Hampton (8 aces). Oyster River began to pull away with a 6 point run at the service line led by junior Hailey Davis. Back to back kills by Quaglieri and Hampton, assisted by senior Isabelle Kalway (18 assists), brought the score to 19-11. Multiple poor passes caused Kingswood to take a timeout, down 22-12. A block by sophomore Kim Gowell (4 blocks) closed out the third set, 25-12 Oyster River.
With a loud and active Oyster River student section, the sound level in the gym was consistently high. “It was overwhelming at first but it really helped the energy on the court,” said Hampton of the student section.
The fourth and final set saw Hampton begin to take over. After fluctuating serving by both teams, Hampton had a big kill that shifted the momentum to the Bobcats. She then followed up her kill with two big aces and an additional kill. “She’s a freshman!” cheers could be heard from the crowd as a slight smirk crossed Hampton’s face. As the Bobcats continued to pull away in the fourth set, Hampton strung together four consecutive aces to finish off the set 25-12.
“Emma is very versatile in terms of where we can put her. If our original plan were to fail, we have someone that can step in surpass what our expectations are,” said Fradillada.
Both Sylvester and Hampton started off their Oyster River careers with a bang. Combining for 18 kills and 10 aces. Hampton added that, throughout the game, “my teammates really helped me. They told me to not focus on the bad plays and keep my energy up.”
The Bobcats may have graduated a pair of dynamic athletes but, luckily for Oyster River volleyball fans, another pair has arrived.
The team will be back at home on Thursday against Pelham, game beginning at 5:45.