ASHLAND — In less than 24 hours, the Southern Oregon volleyball team went from absorbing a College of Idaho gut-punch to getting a gut check against Eastern Oregon. With first place back in the Raiders’ possession, the sting didn’t last long.
The No. 10-ranked Raiders took it back from No. 13 EOU with a 25-23, 23-25, 25-12, 25-23 win Saturday at Lithia Motors Pavilion, a night after a stunned crowd watched them take their first home loss against the No. 16 Yotes. Four players reached double figures in kills, led sophomore middle Makayla Hoyt, who stepped up with five of her 16 in the third set and seven more in the fourth.
SOU (18-2, 11-2 Cascade Conference) and EOU (15-5, 10-2) are tied in the loss column. But by completing their first regular-season sweep of the Mountaineers since 2010, the Raiders are assured of the head-to-head tiebreaker if it comes to that.
“There was a lot of intestinal fortitude tonight from some people who were playing pretty banged up,” SOU head coach Josh Rohlfing said. “In contrast with last night, we weren’t coaching effort at all. The effort was there — it felt like the polar opposite – and I thought we played really hard and downhill.”
EOU entered the matchup with the top opponents’ attacking average in the CCC (.094) but gave up a .248 mark against SOU, the highest mark for a Mountaineers opponent in 13 matches. Taylor Ristvedt poured in 14 kills on 25 attacks, Elliott Cook asserted herself with 10 kills on 20 attacks with just one error, and Dani Johnson added 10 more on 24 swings.
The Raiders scored the last three points of the match to avoid a tiebreaker set, going up 24-23 on back-to-back kills from Ristvedt and Hoyt. After a long rally on the next point, EOU appeared to tie it up when setter Madison Pilon dumped the ball into empty space. But Pilon’s attack was ruled illegal for leaving her feet as a back-row setter after the ball had already dipped below the net, sending the point to the Raiders.
EOU’s prolific outside hitters, Hailee Ackerman (12 kills) and Megan Bunn (8 kills), were kept at a combined attacking average of .143 due in part to the strong work of SOU libero Emma Ryan (21 digs) and defensive specialist Myla Norvell (13 digs). As a team, EOU hit .144.
Natalie James finished with 31 assists and Hannah Bogatin had 26 with six digs in heading SOU’s offense.
The Raiders improved to 9-1 at home, where they’ll remain for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. match against Oregon Tech. The Owls lost in five sets Saturday to College of Idaho, which remained one loss back of SOU and EOU.
SOUTHERN OREGON 3, WARNER PACIFIC 0: At Portland, for the third consecutive game, Southern Oregon’s defense pitched a shutout and Misty Martinez punched in a game-winner at the Eastside Timbers Sports Complex.
The Raiders (7-2-2 overall, 5-1-1 Cascade Conference) didn’t concede a shot on goal in their fifth shutout of the season. They went ahead on Martinez’s goal in the 24th minute, and Mia Volpatti and Makena Totushek assisted each other in the 64th and 67th minutes for the lopsided result.
SOU went into a tie for the points lead atop the CCC standings with Carroll and Oregon Tech, though Carroll has played one less game. The Knights (3-10, 2-5) have lost five games in a row and failed to score in each of them.
Martinez’s goal was her sixth of the year, fifth in SOU’s last four games in fourth game-winner. Volpatti’s totals went to four goals and four assists, and Totushek’s went to four goals and three assists. Both also tallied a goal and an assist in Friday’s win at Multnomah.
SOUTHWESTERN OREGON COMMUNITY COLLEGE 2, ROGUE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 0: At Coos Bay, Alana Smith connected on Paige Boyce’s through ball in the 60th minute to break a scoreless tie and benefited from an own goal in the 74th.
The win improved SWOCC to 2-6-2 overall, 2-5-1 in the Northwest Athletic Conference, while RCC fell to 4-6-1, 3-4-1 in the NWAC.
CHEMEKETA 3, ROGUE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 0: At Salem, Abner Carillo scored off an assist by Sebastian Ruelas in the 32nd minute and Mycol Diaz scored two second-half goals as top-ranked Chemeketa prevailed at Blanchet High School.
Ruelas assisted on Diaz’s second goal.
RCC fell to 0-8-1, 0-7-0 in the Northwest Athletic Conference. Chemeketa improved to 10-1-1, 6-0-1 in the NWAC.