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Morgan Hill
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December 2, 2021

Oakwood battles Gilroy, illness to stay undefeated

Oakwood remains perfect on the season after surviving a scare from Gilroy Wednesday night and winning in four sets.
The Hawks served set point in all four games. Despite dropping the first set, they went on to clinch the final three in dramatic fashion, 24-26, 26-24, 25-22, 31-29.
Oakwood battled not just the resilience of the Gilroy attack, but also a team illness that threatened to take its best players off the floor.
Already, coach Heather Kenold said, the team had to bring up a JV player to fill a spot on the floor. Had Gilroy forced a Game 5—which it threatened to do late in the fourth—Kenold said she wasn’t sure if her girls could have finished.
“I’m really proud of how they played, the way they really had to dig deep while they could barely breath and were coughing and all of that,” Kenold said.
Oakwood improves to 8-0 this season while Gilroy falls to 3-,,,
As it was, the team had to make two extended runs just to stay in the fourth set, including a 7-0 run early in the game and a 6-0 run later on to take a 20-18 lead.
From then on out, there were eight ties and two lead changes as neither team went on a run longer than three the rest of the way.
Gilroy tied the game at 22-all and the two teams traded served from that point before the Mustangs stole the advantage, serving set point at 28-27.
Meanwhile, Oakwood served match point four times to that point.
Gilroy threatened one more time at 29-28 thanks to an Oakwood error to extend the match, but a trio of Mustang errors put things away as the Hawks closed out on a 3-0 run.
That was the theme of the match as Gilroy was in all four games, holding late leads in all four. The Mustangs were the first to 18 points in each of the final three sets, including holding 18-14 leads in Games 2 and 4.
“We have a lot of talent this year, we have experience and we’re a little bit older now so they know how to dig deep,” Kenold said.
Gilroy bounced back in Game 1 from a late deficit to eventually steal the momentum from the Hawks and appeared to carry it over into the second as the Mustangs jumped out to an 8-4 lead.
But Oakwood recovered, going on a 6-1 run that eventually put them ahead and started a back and forth battle that went for the rest of the game.
Gilroy recovered the lead at 18-14 thanks to an 8-3 run.
But two kills from Grace Chapman and a pair of aces from Talia Hill brought Oakwood back and into a 22-19 lead.
The coaches said Chapman was especially feeling the illness and at times couldn’t feel her feet.
“We were giving her Gatorade to make sure she stayed on her feet and then watching her like crazy for signals that she needed to come out,” Kenold said.
But there was a kill she had late where the ball dipped straight down to the floor and that was when Oakwood knew Chapman had enough left in her to finish the match.s
Gilroy pushed back, going on a 4-0 run, but couldn’t get the last two points across.
Oakwood capitalized on a pair of Mustang errors to go up 24-23 and eventually used a Latai Saulala kill to take the lead for good and win 26-24.
The third game was the only one that didn’t need extra frames to finish, but was equally as tight as the others.
Gilroy jumped out to a 12-6 lead early, but couldn’t hang on.
Oawood tied the game six times before eventually taking a 20-19 lead.
The Hawks rode a 14-6 run that took Gilroy out of its groove and closed things out with a 5-2 run with Chapman recording the final kill.

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