The Lane Titans hold high hopes after defeating Mt. Hood 3-1 on Friday, Oct. 26. Lane is now in a three-way tie with Chemeketa and Clackamas for second place in their division. Having won one and lost one to both teams, the Titans will challenge conference leader Linn-Benton in the final game of the season.

Lane started strong by scoring four unanswered points in their first set against Mt. Hood. Despite the head start, Mt. Hood tied the score at 17-17. Ultimately, the Titans buried Mt. Hood with an all-around team effort, beating them 25-20. Lane showed no signs of slowing down in the second set with a run-away scoring push closing the set 16-25.

The third set proved to be more of a challenge as Mt. Hood bounced back and won in a hard-fought battle 25-21. However, the third set loss may have lit a fire under the Titans. Lane sent Mt. Hood packing with a fiery performance that led to an 11-point win.

Lane has an entire week to prepare. The future of the season is coming down to the wire and creating pressure on the Titans to beat SW Oregon on Nov. 2 and Umpqua on Nov. 3. Having lost to Umpqua late in the season last year, Head Coach Stephanie Willett is taking the team into the game with a chip on her shoulder.

“We have been taking it day by day, and watching film on the upcoming opponents,” Coach Willett said. “I’m confident in our team.”

The feeling is mutual in Willett’s players.

Marek Belka / The Torch
Lane head coach Stephanie Willett rallies the Titan volleyball squad after dropping a set against the Mt. Hood Saints at Titan Court on Oct. 26. With three games left in the regular season, the Titans are in a three-way tie with Chemeketa and Clackamas for the final playoff spot in the NWAC South Region.

“If we stick to our game plan I think we will win,” middle front player Hannah Hayes said. Hayes leads the team with 207 kills on the season. Hayes’ teammate Stacia Panther is also putting up incredible numbers with a league-leading 492 digs on the season. Panther is feeling the pressure of the upcoming games.

“It’s going to be super competitive,” Panther said.

Lane is primed for a great end to their season with a conference record of 7-4. Titans are playing a struggling 2-9 SW Oregon team and Umpqua who has lost five of their last seven conference games. A strong finish will secure a playoff position for the Titans.

Update: Since this article was published, the Titans defeated both SWOCC and UCC, guaranteeing Lane a spot in the NWAC postseason. The Titans close out their regular season against the Linn-Benton Roadrunners in Albany on Nov. 7. The NWAC Volleyball Championship kicks off in Tacoma, WA on Nov. 15.