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SOU volleyball opens season with sweep of Antelope Valley, Simpson

ROCKLIN, Calif. — The No. 13-ranked Southern Oregon volleyball team’s attack was unmoved by Antelope Valley (Calif.) and Simpson (Calif.) during Day 1 of the William Jessup Invitational, powering through both in straight sets Wednesday in its first matches of the season at Warrior Arena.

Middles Makayla Hoyt and Elliott Cook began their sophomore campaigns on high notes by putting down 20 and 18 kills, respectively, and the Raiders cruised by scores of 25-12, 25-14 and 25-10 against the Pioneers and 25-20, 25-17 and 25-18 against the Redhawks. Hoyt attacked at a blistering .704 average with just one error, Cook hit .371, and junior right-side Taylor Ristvedt added 15 kills on 27 swings without a miscue (.556).

Collectively, the Raiders attacked at a .361 clip in the first match and .309 in the second, and trailed for only four points on the day. They hit better than .300 in back-to-back matches just once in 2017.

They also sunk Antelope Valley to a negative-.053 average — 18 kills compared to 23 errors — which was the second-lowest for an opponent over the past four seasons. Hoyt led the way with nine kills on 11 swings and four blocks, while Emma Ryan (19 digs) and Kiley Barcroft (10) patrolled the back row. Natalie James orchestrated the attack with 20 assists.

Hoyt had 11 more kills and Cook had 10 against Simpson, which was limited to a .036 attack. Nila Lukens chimed in with eight kills as James (18 assists) and Hannah Bogatin (17) combined to assist 35 of the team’s 47 overall.

Barcroft stood out again defensively with a team-high eight digs, but she also poured in five service aces. Her previous career-high had been two.

SOU will wrap up at the Invitational on Thursday, playing Pacific Union (Calif.) at 11 a.m. and William Jessup (Calif.) at 5 p.m.