Southern Oregon fought off seven set points and had 17 blocks to open Cascade Collegiate Conference play with a straight-set victory over Oregon Tech, Tuesday night at Bob Riehm Arena.
Haley Kasler had 12 kills, while Caryn Westrick tallied a double-double with 15 assists and 12 digs for the Raiders (5-6), who next face Warner Pacific. Liz Madden posted 10 blocks and Renee Yomtob led Southern Oregon with 17 digs.
For Oregon Tech, Kristen Walters posted a match-high 13 kills, Kayleigh Whelchel led the way with 33 assists and Marie Baumann finished with 18 digs.
Oregon Tech jumped out to a fast start in the opening set, scoring eight of the first 10 points. Southern Oregon responded with a five-point run to pull within 9-8, and the Raiders used another five-point streak to take a 16-12 lead.
A kill by Walters sparked a 6-1 OIT run to push the visitors back on top by one, and neither team led by more than one point again until the Raiders finally finished it.
The Owls reached set-point at 24-23, but a kill by Kasler tied the score. After Walters again put the Owls up, Madden tied it up for the Raiders. A service error gave the visitors their third set-point advantage of the opener, but an attack error tied it up again.
Whelchel's kill made it 27-26 in favor of OIT, but the Raiders scored four of the next five points and clinched the set on a block by Madden and Mona Goudarzian.
The second set remained close up until 11-11, when a kill by Nikki Keller sparked a 14-5 SOU run that included the final seven points of the set. A service ace for Yomtob clinched the victory for the Raiders.
Southern Oregon looked like it might pull away and take control in the third set, using a three-point run to pull ahead 13-9. But a kill by Aurora Penoyar sparked a seven-point streak and a 9-1 OIT run that pushed the Owls' lead to 17-14. The Raiders responded and tied it up at 18-all, but OIT eventually took a 23-20 lead on a block by Jen Saltenberger.
After an SOU timeout, Kasler picked up a kill to pull SOU within two, but OIT reached set-point on a kill by Walters.
The Raiders battled off set-points three consecutive times as they closed the set on a five-point streak. The final three points were all scored off blocks for SOU, with Keller involved in all three to help clinch the match.