CALDWELL, Idaho — The eighth-ranked College of Idaho Yotes were victimized again by Southern Oregon's five-set magic Friday night at the J.A. Activities Center.
The Raiders continued their incredible streak of five-set prowess with a 20-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-20, 15-13 upset, which also ended what had been a three-match losing streak on the Yotes' home floor.
Sophomore right-side hitter Taylor Ristvedt delivered 16 kills, her highest total in exactly a month, and setters Natalie James (31 assists, 11 digs) and Hannah Bogatin (23 assists, 7 digs) kept SOU balanced by guiding three more individuals to double figures in kills.
The Raiders (9-6 overall, 6-4 Cascade Conference) improved to 6-0 in five-set matches, already giving them their highest win total in such affairs in Josh Rohlfing's 11 years as head coach. Over the last four seasons, they're now 15-1 in CCC matches that have gone the distance.
Elliott Cook pitched in with 11 kills, Makayla Hoyt with 10 kills and five blocks, Dani Johnson with 10 kills and Ashlyn Flynn with 25 digs.
The Raiders were also helped by the fact that the Yotes (16-3, 8-3) lost their two top hitters, Taylor Alexander and Ashley Pagan, to injuries in the first set.
They're responsible for two of C of I's three losses this season — the other, on Sept. 2 in Ashland, required the Raiders to rally back from two sets down — and have swept the regular-season series between the teams for the first time since 2014.
Following a lopsided loss in the third set, they got back on even ground in the fourth behind four kills apiece from Hoyt and Ristvedt and Emma Ryan's two service aces. In the fifth, they dominated the Yotes at the net with four of their eight total blocks — Hoyt was in on three of them — and turned an 11-10 lead into 14-11 on a Ristvedt kill and two Yotes errors. After two straight C of I points, Hoyt's block of Jackie Van Vliet sealed the win.
SOU will be tested again at 1 p.m. today in a visit to 14th-ranked Eastern Oregon, which defeated Oregon Tech in five sets Friday.
Southern Oregon's defenders have proven sturdy on the back line during Cascade Collegiate Conference play, and on Friday night against Eastern Oregon one of them even provided a little offense.
In the 55th minute of a scoreless game at Raider Stadium, senior defender Logan Guler leapt above the Mountaineers, took Kelly Gieber's perfectly-placed corner kick and headed it in right in front of the goal to make the Raiders 1-0 winners.
With his first point in two years with the team, Guler became the 10th Raider to tally a goal this season, while Gieber took over the team lead with his fourth assist. The connection helped SOU remain in second place, improving to 6-1 in the CCC and 6-6 overall.
The Mountaineers fell to 2-3-1 and 5-4-1.
The Raiders had been knocking on the door well before Guler put them on the board. In the first half, Brendan Allen's breakaway shot went wide and Sean McManamon's follow-up hit the right post. And moments before Guler scored, Mitchell Pinney's escaped the defense on another breakaway but his attempt was quashed on a diving stop by EOU keeper Aidan Wright.
Wright amassed six saves as the Raiders fired 14 shots his way. SOU keeper Wyatt Zabinksi needed two saves for his fifth shutout in conference play.
The Raiders have outscored their conference opponents by a combined margin of 18-3.
They'll be at home again for today's 7 p.m. matchup against Warner Pacific, which dropped to 0-5 on Friday in a 3-0 loss at Oregon Tech.
Natalie Mitchell and Taylor Boyer scored a goal apiece in each half as Eastern Oregon stayed unbeaten in Cascade Conference play with a 4-0 romp over Southern Oregon on Friday evening at Raider Stadium.
The goal total for the Mountaineers (6-2-1 overall, 5-0 CCC) was the highest for a Raider opponent in Ashland since 2007, and the loss was the most lopsided for SOU (6-5, 3-2) anywhere against an NAIA opponent since 2009.
Mitchell's goals were her fifth and sixth of the season. The scores for Boyer, who also added an assist, were her first.