Eastern Oregonís Alisha Crane leads a celebration with teammates Stefanie Sorensen and Bobbi Sumpter during Saturdayís five-set win over Southern Oregon in Quinn Coliseum. The victory tied the Mountaineers with SOU for second place in the final team standings and earned them the second seed in the conference tournament. Eastern Oregon plays in the quarterfinals Friday at 4 p.m. MT at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. BRAD MOSHER - The Observer
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Eastern Oregon Lady Mountaineers had to rally with a strong fifth game to hand Southern Oregon a five-set loss Saturday in Quinn Coliseum.
The narrow, come-from-behind win also catapulted Eastern Oregon into a tie for second place in the final Cascade Conference standings and a first-round bye in the conference playoffs.
Instead of hosting a first-round playoff game Tuesday, the Lady Mountaineers will be heading directly to Idaho Friday for its battle in Caldwell with the survivors of the first round. Eastern Oregon is scheduled to play in the 4 p.m. MT semifinal game.
For EOU, Saturday’s win was the team’s 10th straight victory and marked a clean sweep of their Cascade rivals. It also earned the team the second seed in the conference tournament.
But it didn’t come easy.
Eastern jumped out to an early lead in the showdown between two of the best teams in the conference — but they needed a strong serving performance by senior Rebecca Haight.
Southern Oregon was leading 16-9, when the Mountaineers turned the game around. They went on a 16-2 scoring tear led by Haight’s nine-point service rally and won by a 25-18 margin.
The two teams battled throughout the second set, with neither team able to really break open a big lead. After tying at 19-all, a kill by Haight and a crucial block by Casey Loper helped put the Mountaineers ahead and they held for a 25-22 win.
Just one game from being swept, the Lady Raiders came up with a crucial 25-19 win. Southern Oregon had been behind much of the game, but tied it at 17. The visitors were able to get their first win of the evening after key performances by Natalie Scheller, Mona Goudarzian and Sam Boenke.
Still behind by a 2-1 margin, the Lady Raiders jumped out to an 8-2 lead and never let up for a decisive 25-16 victory.
The Lady Mountaineers turned the tables in the fifth set, taking a 3-0 lead and expanding it to 11-4.
Southern Oregon came back with a strong rally that cut the EOU lead to 12-9, but couldn’t quite catch up. Eastern went on a 3-1 run that gave them the 15-10 win and tied them with Southern Oregon University for second in the standings.
Loper and Haight led Eastern with 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Kaitlyn Duncan had 29 digs in their coach’s 100th career victory.
“The girls played well tonight and responded great when they needed too. I am so proud of the seniors and how they played tonight,” said coach Kaki Moorehead. “They have given everything to EOU volleyball and have helped put this program on the map. There aren’t words to express my thanks to them.”
Southern Oregon was led by Natalie Scheller’s 14 kills, five digs and two blocks. Caryn Westrick guided the Raiders offense with 35
The Mountaineers play Friday in the conference tournament hosted by the champion College of Idaho. EOU’s opponent will be the winner of a CCC playoff game Tuesday.
EOU grounds Owls
Eastern Oregon kept its win streak alive Friday with a 3-1 win over Oregon Tech at Quinn Coliseum.
Eastern opened with a 25-20 win, but dropped a 26-24 loss to the Owls in the second game.
EOU came up with 25-9 and 25-20 wins to knock off Oregon Tech, which fell to 3-14 in the Cascade standings with the loss.
Crane had 13 kills Friday to lead the Mountaineers, while Jessica Perron led the assists with 18. Bobbi Sumpter had 13 and Karly Stack had 12 assists.
Duncan and Haight led EOU with 18 and 13 digs, respectively.