SALEM, Ore. – Coming off a big upset victory 24 hours ago in straight sets over nationally-ranked Southern Oregon, the NAIA’s No. 11-ranked Corban University was taken to four sets by the visiting Hustlin’ Owls of Oregon Institute of Technology before pulling out the win, 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 25-11), Saturday night inside the C.E. Jeffers Sports Center.
With the victory, the Navy and Gold improve to 9-3 overall and stay unbeaten in Cascade Collegiate Conference play through the Warriors’ opening six matches. Meanwhile, Oregon Tech falls to 11-5 overall and 4-2 in conference matches.
The Warriors were led offensively by Jacquelyn Clark and Avari Ridgway with a match-high 13 kills each, while Cierra Leopoldino handed out a match-high 28 assists for Corban to go along with a match-high 27 digs by Kealani Ontai. For Oregon Tech, Nicole Reyes and Kaylin Talonen led the Owls with eight kills each to go along with 18 assists by Jamie Toedtemeier and 19 digs from Aubrey Kievit.
Set #1 began with a dog fight over the opening 19 points, as Corban held a slim one-point lead (10-9) before using a small 3-0 run that included kills by Cassie Cunningham and Ridgway en route to a 13-9 lead. Oregon Tech would fight back to within two points (23-21) before the Navy and Gold closed out the set on a 2-0 run en route to earning the hard-fought 25-21 victory.
The second set would see Corban jump out to a 4-1 lead before OIT battled back to tie things at 11-11 via a 10-7 run. After Oregon Tech tied the set once again at 14-all, the Warriors used a 2-0 run on back-to-back kills by Adriana Aguayo to grab a 16-14 lead. The Navy and Gold would push its lead to as much as five points (20-15) on a service ace by Ontai before Oregon Tech went on a 6-1 run en route to tying the score at 21-all. Three straight kills by Corban, including point-scoring swings by Clark, Cunningham, and Lanae Wohlmacher, would push the Warriors’ lead to 24-21 before Clark ended Set #2 on another kill for the 25-22 victory.
Set #3 would begin with Oregon Tech jumping out to a 14-8 lead on a kill by Faith Houck-Wylie before Corban used a 7-1 run that resulted in a 15-14 lead. Both teams would battle back and forth over the next seven combined points before Oregon Tech used a 4-0 run to break an 18-18 tie and took a 22-18 lead on back-to-back kills by Reyes. The Hustlin’ Owls would take the third set by a score of 25-21 on a Warrior service error.
The fourth and final set would belong to the Navy and Gold, as Corban quickly jumped out to a 10-3 lead on a kill by Sarena Bartley. Oregon Tech would remain within seven points (15-8) on a kill by Camryn Johnson before Corban pushed its lead to double digits (19-9) on an OIT attack error. A service error by the Navy and Gold would give Oregon Tech its final point at 22-11 before Corban rallied off four straight points that included kills by Ridgway and Clark to go along with a pair of OIT attack errors for the final score of 25-11 en route to securing the four-set victory.
With tonight’s victory, Corban sits a full game ahead of No. 8-ranked Eastern Oregon and No. 5-ranked Southern Oregon for first place in the CCC standings. Meanwhile, Oregon Tech and The College of Idaho are two games behind the conference-leading Warriors.
Corban returns to action on Friday, September 27, when the Navy and Gold travel north to the Rose City for a match-up against the Lions of Multnomah University beginning at 7:00 PM. The match will be played on Jim Skagen Court and can be seen live on CCCWEB.TV.