DII volleyball: Slippery Rock's Courtney Oberlander talks 90-second rallies and SpongeBob
Ninety seconds. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time out of your day. It's more than enough time to log on and see what the latest thing trending on Twitter happens to be.
In volleyball time, however, it is an eternity.
On September 9th, Slippery Rock and Charleston (WV) went back and forth in an amazing one minute and thirty second rally. The two teams combined for 71 hits until Slippery Rock finally earned the point.
“I was kind of bouncing around in my chair a little bit,” head coach Laurie Lokash said. “From our angle we could see our bench and stuff. We’re living every thing, every touch, and saying 'someone put this away'. It was great because we won.”
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“It was really intense," senior defensive specialist Courtney Oberlander said. "I never knew when it was going to end. I thought it was going to end earlier in the rally, but it just kept going. It was like ping pong back and forth trying to stay in it. I remember right before we got the point, I told our hitter, 'get this point, get this kill right here.’ And we got it, it was exciting.
“Ive been in long rallies, but I don’t think any one had 71 contacts or went that long.”
Getting the point was a game-changer. The Rock built off its momentum and was able to take the set, and eventually the match 3-0.
“After that long rally, we knew we could win the whole set," Oberlander said. "If we would have lost [that point], all of our [focus] would have gone down, and I don’t think we would have played well after that. Winning a long rally like that gives us all the more confidence in ourselves.”
Slippery Rock is coming off a disappointing 2016, ending with a 13-19 record. The victory on Saturday against Charleston put Slippery Rock at a perfect 8-0 to start the season.
“I think there’s a different attitude," Lokash said. "Any time you have departures and arrivals, you’re going to have different personnel. Sometimes the pieces of the puzzle just fit together a little bit better. These guys stepped up and decided that they’re going to be a cohesive unit, they’re going to work hard and hold each other accountable. That’s led to a lot of the success that’s happening here.”
“This was one of our goals, to obviously improve from last year," Oberlander said. "The people we have right now, a lot of us played together last year. There’s a lot of good freshmen that came in and stepped up. In the beginning of the season we talked about our goals and where we wanted to end up being. To have this 8-0 start is a great start to our end-of-season goal to make the PSAC playoffs and Regionals.
"This year is so different. The vibe is different, it’s all flowing and so much fun.”
Now that Slippery Rock has gained some notoriety, let's find out more about its senior defensive leader.
Are you feeling celebrity status on soical media? Actually, yes, on Twitter it was retweeted everywhere and people were commenting on it. On Facebook one of my old teammates had posted it and tagged me in it. She said it was so cool to see me all over social media, because she knew it was me playing. We definitely got a lot of attention that we weren’t expecting. I never thought because of this one play we’d be this wide-known right now.
Favorite song: I don’t really have a specific song. One of the songs I’ve stuck with is the 300 Violin Orchestra. I listen to it every game.
Superstitions: I have many of those. Same socks. Our jerseys switch, but I wear my hair the exact same every game, and I stick to the same pregame ritual, right down to stretching and everything.
Pregame meal: Not the night before, but I stick to the same granola bar if I have to eat a snack.
Sports movie: Probably Miracle.
Cartoon: Not now, but when I was younger I watched SpongeBob like most kids did.