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Raiders cruise in CCC opener to stay perfect

COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. — Ahead of the most challenging weekend of the regular season, No. 12 Southern Oregon kept its unbeaten streak alive with a 25-14, 25-15, 25-7 win against Walla Walla on Thursday night in the first Cascade Conference match for both teams at Windemuth Court.

The Raiders (8-0 overall, 1-0 CCC) never trailed in claiming their 22nd, 23rd and 24th consecutive set wins to start the year. Sophomore middle Elliott Cook put up nine kills and five blocks and junior right-side Taylor Ristvedt had nine kills and four blocks as they went unchallenged again, attacking at a .421 team clip while the Wolves (0-2, 0-1) sat at negative-.087 with just 13 kills — the lowest total for an SOU opponent in four years.

Since the Wolves joined the conference in 2015, the Raiders have won all seven matchups in straight sets. The Wolves have dropped 48 consecutive conference matches dating back to that season.

SOU stayed sharp up and down the lineup, getting eight kills from Nila Lukens and six apiece from Makayla Hoyt and Dani Johnson. Natalie James totaled 22 assists, Hannah Bogatin had 12, and Emma Ryan posted a team-high nine digs.

The Raiders had 10 different rallies of at least four consecutive points. They surpassed the 1991 SOU team for most consecutive matches to start a season without dropping a set.

Their road trip will get a little more intriguing Friday, when they play a 7 p.m. match at No. 15 Eastern Oregon, which has only lost one CCC regular-season home match since the start of 2014. On Saturday, they’ll play at 6 p.m. at No. 7 The College of Idaho, the CCC’s preseason favorite.