SALEM — It was a hard-fought battle between the two top teams in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, but Eastern Oregon University ultimately fell just short.
The Mountaineers were bested in four sets by Corban, the tournament champions. Coming off a five-set victory over Oregon Tech in the semifinals, Eastern will await its at-large bid into the NAIA tournament.
Eastern was defeated by Corban 26-24, 16-25, 21-25 and 20-25.
Things started on the right foot for the Mountaineers, scoring early and often in the opening set. Eastern outscored Corban 8-3 and went on to hold the lead for most of the set. Despite Corban coming back to tie the set at 22-22, the Mountaineers pulled away to win the set 26-24.
Eastern also led early on in the second set, but Corban ultimately outwilled the Mountaineers to even the match at one set each. The Mountaineers led 7-6 early on, but the Warriors closed out the set on a 19-9 run.
In the third set, it was Corban that jumped out to an early lead. The Warriors led 5-0 to start off the frame and held on despite a late rally by Eastern. The Mountaineers tied the match at 10-10 and were within a point up until a big run by Corban. The Warriors scored four straight points to build a 19-14 lead. Eastern would go on to fall 25-21 to put the match on the line in the ensuing set.
The fourth set was a neck-and-neck battle early on, with both teams exchanging blows en route to a 9-9 tie. Corban started to slowly pull away and build up a 20-14 lead midway through the set. Despite a late rally, Corban held on to win the set 25-20.
Breanna Shaffer led the way with 13 kills, while Cambree Scott and Jet Taylor both recorded a team-high three blocks. Hailey Arritola led the Mountaineers with 28 digs and two aces, while Hannah Ledgerwood recorded 20 assists.
The Mountaineers concluded conference play with a runner-up finish at the Cascade Collegiate Tournament and will await a potential seeding in the NAIA Tournament. The first round of the tournament is scheduled for Nov. 20.