Senior middle Emma Gasman has gone from providing a boost the Southern Oregon volleyball team desperately needed to turning in one of the most prolific three-match runs in recent Raider history.
Her latest victim was the Oregon Tech Owls, they of a 27-match losing streak in the series with SOU after Wednesday night’s 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-13 decision at Mountain Avenue Gym. Gasman had 20 kills on 44 tries — her third straight match with at least 20 kills, a feat no Raider had accomplished in Josh Rohlfing’s 10 years as head coach — to go with six blocks.
She had company in the middle as Courtney Macklin totaled 10 kills on 25 swings and six blocks, and right-side Taylor Ristvedt contributed eight kills to help the Raiders (8-6 overall, 5-2 Cascade Conference) succeed on a night when their outside hitters had a combined four kills on 35 swings.
Oregon Tech standout Kelsey Sampson had 13 kills and 10 digs, but she was limited to eight kills compared to 11 errors in the final three sets. The Owls (6-7, 2-5) were blocked 13 times and wound up with an attacking average of .058.
SOU has won three straight and moved into third place in the CCC since a disappointing sweep at the hands of Northwest (Wash.).
“I’m ecstatic at the improvements we’re making as a team right now,” Rohlfing said. “Practices are improving and we’re seeing a lot of growth from everyone, and the contributions that (freshmen middles) Taylor Callahan and Makayla Hoyt are making in practice are contributing to our strong play in the middle.”
Senior Lauren McGowne did more precise work at setter with 40 assists, four kills and three blocks, helping SOU hit .169 as a team. Four more Raiders — Ashlyn Flynn (21 digs, 4 aces), Kiley Barcroft (12 digs), Emma Ryan (10 digs) and Natalie James (8 digs) — took care of clean-up duties on the back row.
After committing 11 attacking errors in a sloppy opening set, SOU committed 12 in the next three frames combined. During that same time, the Owls erred on 26 attacks.
The Raiders broke a 15-all tie in the second set with an 8-2 run and didn’t trail for the rest of the night.
“We’re showing great resolve when matches get close,” Rohlfing added. “That’s the mark of a team that is finding trust in each other.”
OIT’s Bailey Nelson finished with 11 kills and 12 digs, and Waverly Green had 30 assists.
SOU hosts Walla Walla (Wash.) at 8 p.m. Saturday.