CALDWELL, Idaho — If Southern Oregon still wasn’t being taken seriously as a championship contender before this weekend, the No. 13-ranked Raiders certainly have the Cascade Conference’s attention now.
Lifted by the overpowering arms of Makayla Hoyt and Taylor Ristvedt, SOU won a slugfest in tiebreaker fashion against the No. 7-ranked College of Idaho on Saturday night, prevailing by scores of 29-27, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25 and 15-12 at the J.A. Albertson Center. The Raiders (3-0 CCC) are 10-0 for the third time in team history, and they capped the perfect trip a night after taking another five-setter off No. 15 Eastern Oregon.
They swept the C of I and EOU road swing for the first time since 2005, a feat no other CCC team had pulled off since.
Hoyt, a 6-foot-2 sophomore middle, controlled the net with 15 kills and 12 blocks, tying the highest total in the latter category for a Raider in the last decade. She carried the team in the third set with six kills and three blocks, and teamed up with Ristvedt for two more denials in the fifth.
Ristvedt, a 6-foot junior right-side, checked in with 22 kills, the second-highest number of her career. She had four of them in the fifth set and assisted seven blocks, too, as the Raiders totaled 18 for just the third time in Josh Rohlfing’s 12 years as head coach. C of I matched them, however, with 18 of their own.
“This group continues to show incredible resilience,” Rohlfing said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way they trust one another and pull together.”
Natalie James was stellar again with 37 assists and 10 digs — Hannah Bogatin, the second in SOU’s two-setter system, added 23 assists and seven digs — while Emma Ryan (28 digs) and Sara Fanger (16 digs) slowed down the Yotes attack.
Ryan had eight of her digs in the fifth set, where SOU stormed ahead for a 10-3 lead. It was down to 13-12 before C of I’s Austyn Mauzy served into the net out of a timeout. Ristvedt’s third swing of the final point put the Yotes away.
SOU has stolen four regular-season wins at C of I in the last six years, a stretch that was preceded by nine years without one.
Dani Johnson (12 kills), Nila Lukens (11 kills) and Elliott Cook (7 kills, 6 blocks) were instrumental in the latest. SOU claimed momentum in the first set as Hoyt, Lukens and Ristvedt combined for 15 kills apiece.
Ashley Pagan’s 20 kills and 24 digs highlighted C of I’s efforts. Taylor Alexander had 19 kills with the help of Marija Djonovic’s 59 assists.
SOU returns home to face Walla Walla (Wash.) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
SOUTHERN OREGON 3, OTTAWA 1: At Santa Barbara, Calif., Southern Oregon picked up a quality win Saturday afternoon with three unanswered goals at Thorrington Field.
Senior Makena Totushek, freshman Kiani Pandoliano and junior Simone Schroder each found the net as the Raiders (1-1) rebounded from Friday’s 1-0 loss to The Master’s (Calif.) and overcame an early deficit.
Sydnee Busby put Ottawa (3-2) ahead with her sixth goal of the season in the 22nd minute, getting a five-yard shot set up by Cassidy Chriest. Totushek needed less than three minutes to answer with a 23-yard left-footed drive on Mia Volpatti’s assist from the left side.
Pandoliano put the Raiders ahead with her first collegiate goal in the 54th. She took advantage of a ball that went off keeper Addison Riddle’s hands, and nine minutes later Alivia Quitugua crossed over to Schroder for an eight-yard shot that went for the final score.
Kailey Lemon made all four of her saves in the second half to keep Ottawa off the board.
The Raiders finished with a 16-12 edge in shots. Totushek, Volpatti and Trinity Rhoades each put two on goal.
SOU will finish its road trip against No. 8 Westmont (Calif.) at noon Monday.
SOUTHERN OREGON 6, WILLIAM JESSUP 1: At Ashland, junior forward Brendan Allen got back on the board — three times, in fact — and gave the Raiders the spark they needed for their first win of the season at Raider Stadium.
Allen, a product of Roseville, Calif., was the Raiders’ top scorer with eight goals in their inaugural 2015 season. He’d been shut out since, attending Arizona State in 2016 and appearing less frequently as he worked his way back as a reserve in his return last season, until turning in the fifth hat trick in team history.
Allen wasted little time against the Warriors (1-2), sliding in to turn Zac Hansen’s pass from the left corner into the first goal eight minutes into the game. After WJU’s Tanner Federico leveled the score six minutes later, Allen put the Raiders up for good in the 29th minute by chipping over keeper Nick Garcia, who’d been drawn out by Jan Pessoa de Oliveira’s long pass down field.
Freshman Izaiha Bruce tallied four minutes before halftime for his first collegiate goal. Carlos Magana delivered his first goal of the season and SOU-leading 15th of his career less than a minute into the second half, making it 4-1. Mitchell Pinney set up both scores for the first two-assist game of his career.
An own goal, on which Ahmon Afenegus was credited with an assist, put the Raiders up 5-1 in the 72nd minute. Two minutes later, Allen put on the finishing touches with an assist from Renee Resendez.
The win marked the first as a Raider for new head coach Davie Carmichael. It also snapped a seven-game non-conference losing streak that dated back to the beginning of last season.
SOU (1-2) dominated play with a 32-9 advantage in shots. Raider keeper Wyatt Zabinski corralled five saves.
The Raiders will have their final tune-ups for Cascade Conference action on the road next weekend, playing Sept. 8 at UC Merced and Sept. 9 at Pacific Union (Calif.).