Raiders fight off Northwest Christian
It took just about everything the Southern Oregon University volleyball team had to come away with the first set Friday night against Northwest Christian. Despite ultimately winning in three, it rarely got any easier.
The Raiders clawed back from an eight-point deficit to win a 31-29 opening stanza, then went on three runs of seven points or more in the final two sets to finish off the Cascade Conference victory 25-18 and 25-21 at Riehm Arena. SOU was trailing or tied after hitting the 17-point mark of every set.
The Raiders (8-2 overall, 2-0 CCC) leaned on Motade Atanda for the second straight night of their opening-week sweep. The senior outside hitter produced 17 kills on 28 attacks, 11 digs and three assisted blocks. Emma Gasman hit double figures again with 11 kills, Nikki Keller added seven and Lauren McGowne went for 39 assists.
"I was just really impressed with how Northwest Christian came out and how aggressive they were to start the match," Raiders coach Josh Rohlfing said. "That's what they did last year, too, when they beat us at their place; they're just tenacious.
"But I think, for me, the best part of the match tonight was that every time our resolve was tested, we answered the bell. I think a lesser team would've caved."
The Beacons (2-1, 0-1), who were led by Cassidy Winters's 10 kills, won 14 of the match's first 19 points before the Raiders made their move, going on a 12-4 run. SOU still trailed 21-17 before a Beacon service error and three Gasman kills in the span of five points tied it at 22-all. From there, the teams fought off set-point three times each until a Shelby Young kill ended it.
The Raiders began the second set with a 12-1 lead as Paulla Pinheiro served them to 10 straight points. NCU eventually tied it at 17-all with a 10-1 rally, receiving the aid of six SOU attacking errors, but the Raiders grabbed eight of the set's last nine points thanks to two Gasman kills and two McGowne aces.
The third set started off similarly favorable for the Raiders when four straight points put them up 9-4. Then they found themselves trailing again, 18-16, before a Pinheiro kill was the first of eight unanswered points, three of which occurred on McGowne aces.
Also making life difficult for the Raiders were Chelsea McGowan and Chandler Gabrio, who totaled eight kills apiece. Alyssa Dorr chipped in 25 assists and Kayla Ping 10 digs.
The Raiders were able to coax NCU into a .096 hitting average. And though they only hit .168 themselves, they also limited NCU's specialty - service aces, of which they had just three.
Pinheiro had five kills and 10 digs and Brookelynn Cole added 19 digs for the Raiders, who resume CCC play at home next Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Oregon Tech.
At Klamath Falls, Ashland High used a balanced offense and some ball-hawking defense to dismantle Klamath Union 45-7 in the season opener for both teams Friday at Modoc Field.
The Grizzlies gained 366 yards of total offense, took a commanding four-touchdown lead into the break and intercepted four Klamath Union passes in the nonleague romp.
Ashland junior quarterback Kyle Weinberg, making his first varsity start, completed 9 of 19 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, and senior running back Ryne Robitz rushed for 111 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown burst that started the scoring. Max Montgomery had 88 yards receiving.
Ashland’s defense smothered the Pelicans all night, holding the hosts to 185 yards while picking off four passes, including one by Chance Swenson that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown.
The Grizzlies dominated the first half, outgaining the Pelicans 173 yards to 119 and picking off two Vaughn Vallejos passes. The KU quarterback finished 4-for-16 for 39 yards.
Ashland took a 28-0 lead into the half after Weinberg threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to little brother Nicky Weinberg with 1:24 to go in the second quarter. That followed Kyle Weinberg’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Montgomery.
Kyle Weinberg also found Montgomery on a 46-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth.
Kyle Weinberg also was 6-for-6 on point-after touchdowns and connected on a 23-yard field goal.
Ashland;14 14 3 14 – 45
Klamath Union;0 0 7 0 – 7
A – Robitz 22 run (K. Weinberg kick)
A – Swenson 62 interception return (K. Weinberg kick)
A – Montgomery 36 pass from K. Weinberg (K. Weinberg kick)
A – N. Weinberg 9 pass from K. Weinberg (K. Weinberg kick)
A – FG K. Winberg 23
K – Delossantos 21 pass from Vallejos (Bacchetti kick)
A – Montgomery 46 pass from K. Weinberg (K. Weinberg kick)
A – Hyatt 5 run (K. Weinberg kick)
At Davidson, N.C., Ashland native Jason Allred shot a 7-over par 79 in the second round of the Chiquita Classic on Friday and missed the cut at River Run Country Club.
Allred had six bogeys and two double bogeys a day after firing a 70 in the Web.com Tour event. His wild round also included two birdies.
Hope Baldrica had eight kills and four blocks and Jordan Tilley added 18 assists, five kills and four aces as Ashland opened its season with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 nonleague win over Grants Pass on Thursday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Nyla Norvell added 23 digs and seven aces for the Grizzlies.
Southern Oregon University sports information contributed to this report.