Big weekend awaits SOU volleyball team

The Southern Oregon volleyball team will play for the Cascade Conference regular season title this weekend as it wraps up the regular season at home.

The Raiders (18-3, 15-1 Cascade) host Evergreen State (5-15, 4-12) Friday night at 7 p.m. and Northwest (15-8, 10-6) Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. SOU moved up to No. 16 in this week's NAIA Top 25 rankings.

Southern Oregon controls its own destiny in the race for the regular season title. The Raiders and College of Idaho are still tied for first place, but SOU has a four-set advantage in the tiebreaker. If the Raiders win out and don't drop more than three games it will clinch the conference title and host the conference postseason tournament Nov. 12-13.

This weekend will also be the final regular season home matches for seniors Lindsey Stone, Leah Bergstrom and Leanne Stennett.

Stone, already a two-time NAIA All-American and two-time Cascade Conference Player of the Year, has moved up to fifth in the NAIA national statistics for assists with nearly 11 assists per game. Stone now has 2,880 career assists, which ranks fourth all-time in SOU history despite only playing three seasons for the Raiders.

Bergstrom earned All-American honors last year and Cascade Conference accolades. This year the right-side hitter ranks second to teammate Megan Bartling in the conference for attack percentage with a .331 mark. Bergstrom also ranks 14th in the conference for kills at 2.45 per game and 15th in the conference in blocks with 39.

Stennett has started all 21 matches this year and appeared in 64 of SOU's 67 games. The outside hitter is averaging 2.39 kills per game, 3.45 digs per game and has recorded 29 blocks.

The Raiders will honor the seniors before Friday's match.


All-Americans Tommie Hooper and Kyle Wirkuty scored big victories to lead the Black squad to a one-sided 43-19 victory in the annual Southern Oregon Red and Black Intrasquad Wednesday at McNeal Pavilion.

With the Black squad leading 10-3, Wirkuty scored a 20-4 technical fall victory over freshman Alex Howell at 149 pounds. At 157, Hooper followed three matches later with a :39 pin of Dalton Urrutia to give the Black team a 24-6 advantage.

Wirkuty was a national championship finalist last year, while Hooper is a two-time All-American.

The Black squad received a major decision victory at 165 where Justin Mills scored a 9-0 victory over Tucker Van Matre.

Freshman Nick Van Matre scored a major decision victory for the Red squad in the other 165 matchup. Freshman Robert Ross had a pin for the Red in the heavyweight matchup.

SOU travels to the Pacific Open Sunday and then opens the dual season next Friday at home against Great Falls.

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