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Atanda's 20 kills helps Raiders overcome slow start at Northwest

KIRKLAND, Wash. — More labor was necessary than usual in the matchup, but Motade Atanda had the hot hand Friday night and the 13th-ranked Southern Oregon volleyball team defeated Northwest University, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17.

Atanda finished half of her attacks for a match-high 20 kills, leading the Raiders to their 22nd consecutive victory against the Eagles.

The Raiders (13-3 overall, 7-1 Cascade Conference) jumped into a first-place tie in the conference thanks to 12th-ranked Eastern Oregon's sweep of previously-undefeated Concordia. They'll play at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Evergreen, against which they'll also be going for their 22nd straight win.

Northwest (9-10, 2-4) stole the first set after trailing 18-15 but couldn't get a handle on the next three.

Lauren McGowne went for 51 assists and 11 digs, and Emma Gasman had 13 kills and assisted five blocks in helping the Raiders. Sam Boehnke assisted eight blocks with six kills, and Abbie Hanser was in on seven blocks.

SOU, which has 42 total blocks in its last three matches, cornered the Eagles into a .151 attacking average. The highest average for an SOU opponent in CCC play remains .190.

Paulla Pinheiro, the reigning CCC offensive player of the week, had another solid match with 14 kills and 15 digs. Brookelynn Cole, the reigning libero of the week, handled a match-best 22 digs.

The Raiders finished strong with a .394 attacking average in the final set. By the time they got to 20 points in the final three sets, the Eagles were never less than four points behind.

Rae Ann Hastings (14 kills) and Amanda Waterman (12 kills) headed Northwest's attack.