The Raiders volleyball team brought the crowd to their feet as they took out the Oregon Tech Owls in a 3-1 set win last Friday night.
The Bob Riehm Arena buzzed with good energy as the dynamic student section took it upon themselves to voice their support for the Raider team. Whether motivated by the energetic crowd or not, the Raiders came away with the win against the Hustlin’ Owls.
SOU won the first set 25-20, second set 25-18, lost the third set 21-25, then quickly dominated the fourth set to win the match 25-12. The Raiders are now 31-1 against Oregon Tech since 2002.
Four Raiders finished with double digit kills and attacked at a .218 average while keeping OIT only to an average of .124.
“Why are they so strong?” asked a bewildered spectator in the crowd after a particularly good kill by freshman middle blocker Emma Gasman, who finished with a total of 17 kills.
“[Gasman] is a freaking beast,” freshman Hunter Aiono said. “This game was a real nail-biter. There’s also a really good energy in the crowd. Usually, when it looks like a certain team is going to take the win, lots of people leave before the last set. But not tonight. Everyone wanted to watch us whoop them.”
Gasman wasn’t the only Raider that left the crowd with their jaw dropped. “I have to say I’m incredibly impressed by Paulla Pinheiro,” said freshman Mason Alfaro. “She has a whip arm. I would be scared to be at the receiving end of that ball.”
After 11 kills last night, junior outside hitter Pinheiro has now scored double-digit kill totals in five straight matches.
“There’s a lot of young talent on that court,” said Alfaro. “There are also good veterans that lead the team really well.”
What most seemed to impress, as junior Molly Lomax noted, was the ability of the Raiders to work as a team.
“Not only does this team have great hitters, but their communication is amazing,” said freshman Hannah Thompson.
The student section didn’t hesitate to share their enthusiasm toward the Raiders as the entire crowd stood up on their feet to root on the team when the last set reached 21-11. When the last point was made, the crowd roared.
“This crowd was alive! A crowd like this brings more spirit and unity to our school,” Alfaro said.
“I can say I am proud to be a Raider,” Aiono said with a grin.