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Raiders pull out another five-setter

FULLERTON/COSTA MESA, Calif. — Southern Oregon will have two weeks to digest its performance at the Summer Slam Invitational before jumping into Cascade Conference play. Thanks to another five-set win Thursday at Vanguard, the tournament outing at least went down reasonably smooth.

After falling during the morning session at Hope International's Darling Pavilion against unbeaten Morningside (Iowa) — 25-23, 25-19, 25-27, 27-25 — the Raiders (2-2) traveled to Vanguard's home court in the afternoon and escaped with a 25-18, 25-22, 18-25, 17-25, 15-5 victory, dominating the fifth set just as they did in Wednesday's win against The Master's (Calif.).

Malie Rube had a team-high 13 kills with 12 digs and two service aces, Makayla Hoyt delivered 12 kills on 21 attacks and Taylor Ristvedt capped a big week with nine kills in the win. The Raiders were sturdy in the back row, getting 16 digs from libero Kylie Barcroft, 14 from defensive specialist Emma Ryan and 11 more from setter Natalie James, who along with Hannah Bogatin recorded 21 assists.

The Raiders went down quietly in the third and fourth frames but were never threatened in the decisive fifth, as they recorded three of their seven aces in the set and the Lions (1-4) committed a pair of service errors. SOU used two of those aces to finish five-point rallies — Ryan's that made it 5-1, and James' that made it 11-3.

Since the start of the 2014 season, the Raiders are 14-2 in regular-season matches that have gone to five sets.

They threatened to take Morningside to a fifth, too, but couldn't stop the Mustangs from ticking off their third straight win. After dropping the first two frames, they erased a 23-20 deficit in the third and won 27-25 behind three consecutive Ristvedt kills. In the fourth, however, they served twice for set point and let both opportunities slip away.

SOU was outhit by Morningside, .234 to .150, despite Bogatin's 25 assists and 10 digs, 14 more kills for Ristvedt and 10 for Hoyt. Ristvedt finished the tournament with a team-high 46 kills and just 15 attacking errors, hitting .244, while freshman middles Elliott Cook (.294) and Hoyt (.278) were also efficient in combining for 68 kills.

When SOU returns to action, it will be home for its first three CCC matches — Sept. 1 against 11th-ranked Eastern Oregon, Sept. 2 against 25th-ranked College of Idaho, and Sept. 6 against Oregon Tech.