The Titan volleyball squad continued their march toward the Northwest Athletic Conference Championship after a rollercoaster week of home matches.
On Oct. 10, Lane hosted the first-place Linn-Benton Roadrunners, who came into Wednesday’s match with an undefeated conference record and a six-match win streak.
Despite a valiant defensive effort and some clever play-calling, the Titans were quickly outmatched by the Roadrunners. After winning the first set 25-19, Linn-Benton cruised through the final two sets, running away with a rapid three set victory in a match that lasted just one hour and twenty-five minutes.
Sophomore captain Stacia Panther and freshman hitter Saige Brashears led the Titans’ defensive efforts. Panther recorded 19 digs, while Brashears recorded five solo blocks in addition to her seven kills.
With only two days to prepare for their next match against the Chemeketa Storm, the Titans quickly rallied. On a cool Friday evening, the Titans arrived at pre-game warm-ups with a sharp, focused attitude, and carried that focus into a thrilling two-hour match.
The Titans and Storm traded set wins throughout the night, twice pushing sets into extra point territory. Players from both teams spent the night diving headlong across the hardwood to make spectacular digs, but the Titans ultimately controlled play at the net. Though Chemeketa’s Delaney Smith recorded 15 kills, the combined Lane offensive front of Hannah Hayes, Kara Standridge and Meagan Briggs led the Titans to a 3-2 match victory.
Stacia Panther once again led the Titan defensive effort, recording another 19 digs, while Hayes and Briggs combined for ten total blocks. The victory also came as a result of improved teamwork among the Titans. Against Linn-Benton, Lane recorded 32 assists as a team, while the duo of Sierra Westling and Taylor Russell recorded 34 alone against Chemeketa.
With the confidence of a close victory giving the Titans an important jolt of confidence in a close playoff race in the South Region, Lane closed out a three-game stretch of home games by welcoming cross-town foes New Hope.
The Titans are currently sitting in second place in the NWAC South region, one game ahead of Clark College and miles behind the Roadrunners. The top four teams from each NWAC region qualify for the championship tournament in Tacoma, and six teams are within two games of the final three spots.
Lane has five games remaining on its schedule, all against conference teams. The Titans will have one final opportunity to face Linn-Benton on Nov. 7 in Albany.