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SOU opens national tourney on home floor

Winners of 15 of their last 16 matches, the 13th-ranked Southern Oregon University volleyball team plays 21st-ranked Lewis-Clark State in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship opening round Saturday night at McNeal Pavilion.

The winners of the 12 opening round matches advance to the NAIA Volleyball National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 1-5.

Southern Oregon, which stands at 24-3 on the season, hopes to build off its late-season push that resulted in 15 straight wins to get to the Cascade Conference Postseason Tournament championship match. The Raiders, who shared the regular season crown with College of Idaho, fell in the championship to the Coyotes.

SOU's offensive attack is led by All-Conference selections Leah Bergstrom and Chelsea Hartman.

Bergstrom leads the team with a .292 attack percentage and is second with a 2.83 kills per set average. Hartman boasts a team-high 2.99 per set kill ratio and is second in attack percentage at .277.

Lewis-Clark State (23-7) is led by Brazilian senior Anile Clemente. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter is averaging 3.05 kills per set, 3.42 digs per set and is hitting at a .228 clip this season.

Setters Lisa Davis (4.70 assists per set) and Kim Fong (4.04 assists per set) are in charge of the Lewis-Clark offense.

The Raiders are making their fifth trip the National Tournament and their first since 2004. Lewis-Clark State qualified for the 10th time in program history and is making its third straight trip.

Saturday night's match starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for reserved seating, $6 for general admission and $2 for students. Passes and season tickets are not valid for the match.