ASHLAND — The streak is intact, and Southern Oregon made it out its opening homestand Wednesday night looking like a potential player again in the Cascade Collegiate Conference race.
The Raiders' 29th consecutive defeat of Oregon Tech was a 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 25-14 decision at Mountain Avenue Gym, making them 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the CCC going into an eight-day break. Sophomore right-side hitter Taylor Ristvedt had the hot hand with 18 kills on 39 swings, freshman middle Makayla Hoyt controlled the net with 12 kills and six blocks, and junior libero Ashlyn Flynn held the floor with 28 digs, making way for some pivotal late rallies.
The Owls (3-4, 1-2) , who on Saturday swept defending champion Eastern Oregon a night after taking then-unbeaten College of Idaho to five sets, put up a fight behind outside hitter Chase Bohman's 19 kills, but the Raiders had the finishing touch.
"We feel really good about that win. OIT is vastly improved and they're going to be a contender," SOU head coach Josh Rohlfing said. "I felt like we competed consistently and that's been the focus all year."
The first set alone was tied at 18 points, and OIT held a 22-21 lead before Ristvedt and Hoyt kills swung it back to SOU. Ariana Sattler's block and another Hoyt kill then made it four unanswered to end the frame.
Five straight Owls points also gave them a 22-20 edge in the second, but SOU ended that one with five of its own as back-to-back blocks and back-to-back Natalie James aces sandwiched an OIT error.
James finished with 24 assists and a career-high six aces, the most for a Raider since Paulla Pinheiro recorded eight on Oct. 19, 2013. SOU's other setter, Hannah Bogatin, also came up big with 29 assists and six digs.
Together, Bogatin and James led the Raiders to a season-best .277 attacking average compared to OIT's .199. Ristvedt hit .385 and Hoyt was at .381, while Elliott Cook and Dani Johnson were both efficient in totaling eight kills apiece. Sattler and Malie Rube each added four blocks in helping to shut down the outsides.
The Owls, who got seven kills apiece from Whitney Webster and Samantha Szachara, raced out to a 10-1 lead in the third set. They gave it back as SOU tied it at 17-all, but Bohman's kill to finish the set capped an 8-4 spurt.
The fourth was the least contested after an 8-1 run put the Raiders up 10-4. Johnson carried them with six kills in the set on eight attacks without an error.