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Cook, No. 13 Raiders overpower Simpson

ASHLAND — No matter which direction the ball was flying, Simpson (Calif.) had no answer for Southern Oregon middle Elliott Cook in the No. 13-ranked Raiders’ seventh consecutive sweep Sunday at Lithia Motors Pavilion.

SOU completed a perfect nonconference slate with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-18 thumping in the final match of the Raider Invitational and overmatched the Redhawks with 14 blocks. Cook, a sophomore middle, got in on 10 of them — one solo, nine assisted — in becoming the first Raider to reach double figures since 2014. She also attacked 14 times without an error, turning eight of them into kills.

Taylor Ristevedt turned in another dominant performance, too, with 10 kills on 16 attacks, and finished with a .489 attacking average over three matches on the weekend. The Raiders hit .407 as a team against Simpson, their highest clip of the season.

Makayla Hoyt lifted that mark with seven kills on 14 swings to go with four blocks, three of which were tallied on consecutive points in the opening set. Nila Lukens had seven kills of her own, while Maddie Pernich contributed four blocks and Emma Ryan had 11 digs.

The Raiders have swept seven straight matches to start the season for the second time in team history — the other being 1991. Opponents have reached the 20-point mark in just six of 21 sets.

They’ll turn their attention to a critical Cascade Conference-opening road trip, which starts Thursday at Walla Walla (Wash.) and will take them Friday to No. 15 Eastern Oregon and Saturday to No. 7 The College of Idaho.