The Southern Oregon women's volleyball team has one more weekend to establish itself, today and Saturday at the U.C. Merced Tournament, before returning home next week to open Cascade Collegiate Conference play. They play today at 9 a.m. against San Diego Christian and at 1 p.m. against Merced, then Saturday at 9 a.m. against Cal-State San Marcos and at 5 p.m. against William Jessup.
San Marcos was the team the Raiders saw first at Biola, winning in four sets. They went on to defeat Westmont in five, sweep 22nd-ranked Vanguard and get swept by second-ranked Concordia (Calif.).
SOU got the usual production it expected out of some returning staples in the lineup: setter Lauren McGowne totaled 161 assists, Paulla Pinheiro averaged 2.9 kills, 2.8 digs and .5 aces, Nikki Keller attacked at a .436 average, and Emma Gasman averaged 2.1 kills per set while earning Cascade Conference Defensive Player of the Week accolades with 28 total blocks.
What the Raiders could not be sure about was the play of outside hitter Motade Atanda, but she didn't disappoint. Atanda, whose court time was limited last year, stepped right into a starting spot and delivered 20 kills in the first match, 21 in the second and 12 in the third — all team-highs.