LCSC volleyball team wins wild one over SOU
ASHLAND, Ore. – A nightmare start turned into a dream ending for the Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team in the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament on Saturday night.
Falling behind Southern Oregon 18-2 in the first set, the Warriors were able to put the slow start behind them and rally to claim a wild 15-25, 25-14, 30-32, 25-13, 16-14 victory over the Raiders.
The win lifts LCSC, 24-7 into the 24-team pool play portion of the tournament, which will be held Dec. 1-5 at Sioux City, Iowa. It’s the third straight year the Warriors have made it to pool play. Pool assignments will be announced on Sunday.
Saturday’s match was everything it was billed to be. The NAIA held 12 first-round matches on Saturday and this one was the only one that involved two Top 25-ranked teams. Southern Oregon, which finishes the season 24-4, was ranked No. 13 in the final NAIA poll, while LCSC was ranked No. 21.
The Warriors got off to a horrendous start as Southern Oregon used five straight points for a 7-1 lead. After LCSC scored a point, the Raiders ran off the next 11 points for an 18-2 advantage.
”I’m not sure if it was nerves of what it was, but we just could not pass,” LCSC coach Jen Greeny said. “And when you can’t pass, there is not a lot else you can do. But give them credit. They came out hammering and did a great job.”
The Warriors did rally and outscored Southern Oregon 13-6, but the Raiders were able to close out the match and hold LCSC to a .074 hitting percentage.
“Towards the end of the set, we wanted to get a little momentum and we were able to do that and carry it over into the next set,” Greeny said.
LCSC was able to use the momentum of the final part of the first set to jump out to an 11-3 lead in the second set. Sophomore Lauryn Herrick had four kills in the second set, while Jenika Bird and Dani Barrett had three apiece as LCSC kept the pressure on and won 25-14.
Another key spark for LCSC was the serving of Katie Hinrichs, who had three service aces in the first set. She added two more in the second set and finished with six in the match. The Warriors had 11 service aces on the night as Anile Clemente added four.
The Warriors appeared ready to take control of the match as they jumped out to leads of 10-3 and 17-11 in the third set, only to see Southern Oregon battle back. The Raiders, who led 2-1, didn’t grab the lead again until 25-24 after LCSC had four set points. The Warriors had six set points, but couldn’t convert and SOU wound up with the 32-30 win.
“I was a little disappointed in the third set that we let that lead get away,” Greeny said. “We made some crucial mistakes, but we hung right in there and fought back and won the fourth. That is something I’m proud of with this team, they always come back swinging when they are down.”
The fourth set started out tight, but LCSC scored five straight broke to turn a tie into a 10-5 lead. The Warriors kept it rolling from there with leads of 16-10 and 20-12. After the Raiders got a kill to make it 20-13, the Warriors closed out the set with the final five points.
The fifth and deciding set featured Southern Oregon scoring three straight points for a 6-3 advantage, which was the biggest lead of the set. The Warriors fought back and tied the set at 8 and again at 11, and then managed to take leads to 12-11, 13-12, and 14-13, only to have Southern Oregon respond to tie the match.
A service error by Southern Oregon’s Leanne Stennett, gave LCSC the lead again at 15-14, and then junior Demi Dlouhy ended the match with a kill.
“They did get the early lead in the fifth set, but again we were able to fight back,” Greeny said. “I thought Lauryn Herrick especially did a great job of swinging and we were able to block better.”
Herrick paced the Warriors with 14 kills, while Clemente had 12 and Dlouhy 10. Dlouhy also hit .368 for the match, while Herrick hit .333. Lisa Davis added 28 assists, while Kim Fong had 17.
Clemente led the team with 19 digs, while Hinrichs had 16 and Davis 10. Bird was credited with 3.5 blocks, while Dana Christiansen and Dlouhy had two apiece.
For the match, LCSC hit .195, while SOU hit .116. LCSC also outblocked SOU 14-11.
Southern Oregon was led by Leah Bergstrom and Heather Porter’s 13 kills. Chelsea Hartman finished with 10 kills.
This is the third-straight five-set match for LCSC, which trailed 2-1 in sets in all three.
“I think to rally like that says a lot about their hearts and the fight they have in them,” Greeny said of her team. “I think it shows they have really worked together as a team throughout the year.”