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No. 18 SOU goes 1-1 on opening day

No. 18 Southern Oregon opened its season with a dominant victory over No. 25 Northwestern then fell to unranked Montana Tech in the first day of the Biola Summer Slam in La Mirada, California on Thursday.

The Raiders trounced Northwestern (Iowa) in straight sets, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, but couldn't maintain their momentum during a night match against Montana Tech, which overcame a one-set deficit to win 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-22.

Against Northwestern, the Raiders hit .197, totaled six service aces and finished with 13 blocks. Emma Gasman led the Raiders with eight kills on 14 swings while also contributing three blocks and two assists. Courtney Macklin added six kills, Lauren McGowne 17 assists and seven digs and Kiley Barcroft 13 digs and two aces.

Northwestern's Lauryn Hilger led everyone with 14 kills, but that required 37 swings and Northwestern hit only .106.

Southern Oregon used a 10-3 run to take a 15-9 lead in the opening set, with back-to-back kills by Gasman and Barcroft capping the rally. 

Northwestern fought back to tie SOU 20-all, but the Raiders won the next five points, a run that included a Gasman kill followed by a Barcroft ace.

SOU went on a 6-1 run to go up 19-14 in the second set and used a 5-0 surge to take control of the third set, 21-12.

Against Montana Tech, the Raiders appeared to be starting right where they left off, winning the last two points of the opening set to grab the early lead. With the score tied at 23-all, SOU's Nila Lukens slammed home a set from McGowne, and moments later the Raiders clinched the set on an attack error.

Montana Tech rolled through the next three sets, however, overcoming a 7-3 deficit to take the second set and reclaiming the momentum.

In a last-ditch effort to force a fifth set the Raiders won five of six points to turn a 14-10 deficit into a 15-15 tie in the fourth, but couldn't finish. In a key stretch, Montana Tech won three straight points — a run that included a kill by Nicole Peacock followed by an ace by Makenzie Bauck — to take a 21-18 lead, and eventually clinched the match on a Raider attack error.

Gasman had seven kills and four digs against Montana Tech, and McGowne 27 assists. The Raiders had 35 attack errors and hit .015.

The Raiders have two more Summer Slam matches today against Great Falls (Mont.) and No. 9 Vanguard (Calif.).