For the first time since 2011, Southern Oregon University Volleyball claims a championship title from the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament.
After SOU won hosting rights for the CCC Championships in a domination against Northern Christian University on Saturday, Nov. 3, the four finalists: SOU (1), Eastern Oregon University (2) (EOU), College of Idaho (3) (C of I), and Corban University (4) (Corban) gathered at Lithia Motors Pavilion to compete for the title.
Head Coach Josh Rohlfing said, “Since I’ve been here we’ve only hosted once before. It has felt like we’ve traveled a lot over the season and over the years, so to be able to walk out your doors and go play a game is pretty awesome.”
The semifinals began on Friday, Nov. 9 when EOU played against C of I. EOU took the win that afternoon in a 3-1 game, securing them a spot in the championship game the next night. Later that evening, SOU played against Corban, taking the win in a clean sweep 3-0 with sets 25-14, 25-17, 25-22.
After Friday night’s game, Rohlfing said, “I’m pretty fired up tonight. We got beat by this team seven days ago pretty handily, and all we talked about all week was just controlling our intensity, and that’s what we did. As Coach, what else can you ask for?” Rohlfing furthered by saying “We’re just going to try and focus on the same intensity,” in order to prepare for Saturday’s game against EOU.
Saturday, Nov. 10 was the championship game of the CCC Tournament. With a nearly full stadium, the energy and intensity was high from both the audience and the players. The four sets played were close, with SOU taking the first, third, and fourth ones at 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, and EOU taking the second set at 25-21. In the end, it was SOU that took home the trophy, presented to the team by SOU president Linda Schott.
The championship was met with so much intensity, four players managed to produce double-figure kills: CCC Player of the Year Taylor Ristvedt at 16, Malie Rube at 12, Elliott Cook at 11, and Dani Johnson at 10. Johnson had to be removed from the game during the third set due to an injury.
Heightened from the victory, CCC Co-Libero of the Year and junior Emma Ryan said, “Everyone came in ready to their job. Everyone was engaged and knew what their focus was. Based on the last few weeks, I think we’ve taken point by point a lot more serious.”
Middle Blocker and redshirt sophomore Makayla Hoyt furthered this by saying, “Our goal tonight was to just come out with fire, and I think that the crowd and our energy on the court definitely brought that out. Everyone was playing with a purpose, and we just wanted to finish each point with a purpose.”
At the end of this season, SOU Volleyball will be losing four seniors: Malie Rube, Kiley Barcroft, Dani Johnson, and Natalie James. While they certainly will be missed by the team, Rohlfing sees their departure as a transition “…because we feel that everyone who leaves our program is still involved with us, and if they’ve done their job after leaving our program and we’ve done ours, they’ve created the next group to fulfill the expectations.”
SOU Volleyball ends their regular season with a 26-3 record, ensuring them a place in the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa starting Nov. 27.
Article by: Maggie Alvarez, Staff Writer.