SOU shuts down Beacons for weekend sweep
EUGENE — The 10th-ranked Southern Oregon University volleyball team rarely let momentum leave its side Saturday afternoon and will bring a seven-match win streak home next weekend after a sweep of Northwest Christian at Morse Events Center.
Playing their fifth straight on the road, the Raiders (17-3 overall, 11-1 Cascade Conference) maintained a 66-percent sideout clip (41-for-62) to deny the Beacons (7-10, 4-9), who swept SOU in the same gym a season ago.
SOU and Eastern Oregon remain tied in first place, one win ahead of Concordia and two in front of College of Idaho.
Outside hitters Motade Atanda and Paulla Pinheiro carried the load again, helping the Raiders prevail in swift fashion despite a modest .162 team attacking average. Atanda had 14 kills — giving her 32 in six weekend sets — and eight digs, and Pinheiro tallied 13 kills, nine digs and two service aces.
The Beacons attacked at a .123 average, becoming SOU's 16th straight opponent to hit under .200. Chandler Gabrio's 16 kills on 38 attempts were the reason it was even that high.
Lauren McGowne had 35 assists and four digs, and Brookelynn Cole controlled a match-high 17 digs for the Raiders.
Leading 23-22 in the first set, two Atanda kills put the Beacons away. SOU never trailed in the second set, jumping out 13-5 and then 20-10, but NCU had the third set knotted at 22-all. A block by Atanda and Emma Gasman gave the Raiders the advantage, and kills by Abbie Hanser and Atanda signaled the end of the match.
Gasman had two aces and assisted four blocks, while she, Hanser and Sam Boehnke, from Ashland, spiked four kills apiece.
The Raiders won 15 of 18 sets during their road swing.
They'll be at Riehm Arena, where they are 5-0, for the first time in 26 days when they face Northwest University on Oct. 3.
WARNER PACIFIC 2, SOU 1: At Portland, Southern Oregon's hopes of hosting a playoff game were dashed.
SOU (4-10-1 overall, 3-4-1 Cascade Conference) got an equalizer out of Presley Lambert in the 64th minute, but the Knights (7-7-2, 4-2-1) scored the game-winner 90 seconds later when Carley Turner assisted Staci Tatum's goal from 25 yards deep.
The Raider have one more regular season game, next Saturday at Oregon Tech. They can clinch a top-six finish, which would put them in the playoffs, with a win. A loss or tie would give them 10 or 11 points, and seventh-place Evergreen has seven with two games remaining. SOU owns the tiebreaker.
SOU once again controlled possession and chances, as the Knights scored on the only two shots they put on goal. The first went off the foot of Cristal Ruvalcaba, who was assisted by Ashley Valencia in the 58th minute.
Following a short delay due to a power outage, Lambert got right to work, and Jacquie Galvez got the assist on a keeper misplay. The Raiders had 14 total shots to Warner Pacific's six, placing seven on goal, as Lambert and Megan McArthur (San Jose, Calif./Presentation) offered two on goal apiece.
Lambert leads the team with four goals this season.