KIRKLAND, Wash. — Northwest University (Wash.) put the first dent in No. 9-ranked Southern Oregon’s record Friday night with a 13-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 15-12 upset in front of a charged-up crowd at Kristi Bodin Pavilion.
The Raiders (14-1 overall, 7-1 Cascade Conference) couldn’t slow down the Eagles (7-9, 3-4) in the final two sets. After holding them to a .231 attacking average through the first three, Northwest hit .417 the rest of the way and recorded 10 kills with only one error in the tiebreaker.
SOU’s streak will enter the books as the third-best start in team history, three wins short of tying the all-time program mark for consecutive wins to start a season.
It wasn’t the first time the Raiders have played with fire: Three of their four CCC road matches have gone to five sets. They’ve dropped their last four matches at NU.
Sarah Warner’s 15 kills and 10 digs led the Eagles. She and Keann White, who added 10 kills, both hit at a .400 clip with the help of setter Courteney Carr, who racked up 42 assists.
The loss spoiled another outstanding night for SOU right-side hitter Taylor Ristvedt, who went for 19 kills on 28 attacks with two errors. Makayla Hoyt had 11 kills and six blocks, Dani Johnson chipped in 11 more kills, and Emma Ryan had 20 digs.
The Eagles claimed the last three points of the fourth set on back-to-back SOU attack errors followed by Tatiana Ensz’s ace. They surrendered momentum momentarily in the fifth as the Raiders took the first three points with two Ristvedt kills.
The Eagles answered with a 5-1 run, and two straight SOU errors had them up 13-9 later in the set. SOU trimmed the lead to one by taking the next three points before kills from Audrey Saelens and Warner ended it.
SOUTHERN OREGON 2, EASTERN OREGON 0: At La Grande, senior forward Mitchell Pinney was the epitome of instant offense in Southern Oregon’s victory over Eastern Oregon on a windy afternoon at Community Stadium.
Pinney didn’t check in until halftime of a scoreless affair, but 27 seconds into his shift he got control of a free ball in the box and darted it past Mountaineers keeper Aidan Wright for his second game-winner of the year and the sixth of his career.
In the 71st minute, freshman Izaiha Bruce set him up with a short pass from the right side of the field to the top of the box. It drew out Wright from his post, and Pinney beat him to the ball to put his second goal into an open net.
When Pinney checked out four minutes later, his job was done, and the Raiders (6-2 overall, 3-0 Cascade Conference) had all but wrapped up their sixth consecutive win. Through three circuit contests, only they and Corban have accumulated nine points.
The Mountaineers (4-2-1, 2-1) were the other team with a perfect CCC record when the day started.
They were blanked for the first time this season, but the clean sheet was SOU’s fifth in a row. Going back to last year, the Raiders have pitched four straight CCC road shutouts.
Keeper Wyatt Zabinski secured the latest — and the 15th solo of his two-year Raider career — with five saves.
Pinney’s goals gave him three on the season and 13 in his career. The assist was Bruce’s first.
EASTERN OREGON 2. SOUTHERN OREGON 0: At La Grande, with its Cascade Conference title defense off to a shaky start, Eastern Oregon got a much-needed win and victimized Southern Oregon’s five-match unbeaten streak in the process at Community Stadium.
The Mountaineers (5-1-1 overall, 1-1-1 CCC) scored a pair of second-half goals, capitalizing on a 25-13 shots advantage. Taylor Boyer and MacKinley Gregus were the responsible parties in helping EOU rebound from a one-point opening weekend in conference play.
The Raiders, who were the lone CCC team to receive votes in this week’s NAIA Top 25 poll after EOU dropped out, dropped to 4-2-1 overall and 2-1 in the circuit. It was the first time they’d given up multiple goals in 12 games dating back to last season.
Boyer broke up the tie unassisted in the 67th minute with her third goal of the season, and she assisted Gregus’s fifth just six minutes later.
Cydni Cottrell collected four saves for the shutout.
ALEXANDER, HUMBLE PACE RAIDERS IN CCC PREVIEW: At Issaquah, Wash., all five Southern Oregon scorers were among the top-11 finishers at Lake Sammamish State Park, and the No. 2-ranked Raiders beat out Northwest Christian for a team win at the Cascade Conference Preview Meet in their first outing of the season.
Runner-up Ryan Alexander, a senior, led with way with a time of 25 minutes 58.7 seconds on the 8,000-meter course, and freshman Deklan Humble got off to an impressive start with a third-place finish in 26:00.7. SOU amassed 34 points to NCU’s 43, well ahead of Northwest (70) and Walla Walla (88).
SOU WOMEN TAKE SECOND AT CCC PREVIEW: At Issaquah, Wash., senior Kayle Blackmore had an encouraging return in a third-place overall finish at the Cascade Conference Preview Meet, helping the No. 12 Southern Oregon women to second in the team standings.
Blackmore, an NAIA All-American in 2016, missed the second half of last fall and most of the spring due to injury. In her first race back, she ran the 5,000-meter course at Lake Sammamish State Park in 18 minutes 46.9 seconds.
SOU, which was without a couple core runners, finished with 41 points, behind Northwest Christian’s total of 32. Corban totaled 53 and Northwest (Wash.) 99.