Kaitlin Hampton spikes the ball through an attempted block to record one of her five kills, contributing to the Titans sweep of the Clark College Penguins. The win improved the Titans’ conference record to 3-1, one game behind first-place Linn-Benton in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s Southern Region (photo by Jason Petorak).

The Titans volleyball team has started off conference play strongly, winning three of their four games and only losing to Chemeketa after fighting to the fifth set. With their 3-1 record, the Titans are sitting at second place in the Southern Region of the Northwest Athletic Conference, only behind Linn-Benton Community College who they will face on October 10. Overall, the Titans are ranked 14 in the NWAC.

The team played in several pre-conference tournaments up and down the west coast to mixed results, but Coach Stephanie Willett remains ready, “Every pre-season match and tournament play helps us in the long run. The more they get to play together the easier it is to find out what works best.”

Kaitlin Hampton prepares to pass the ball during the match against the Clark College Penguins on Sept. 28. Hampton, the outside hitter for the Titans, has 123 kills so far this season and ranks 12th in the conference in service aces. (Photo by Jason Petorak // The Torch.)

 

Coach Willett says that since the beginning of the season, the team’s goal has been to make the NWAC tournament. Being in second place currently, Coach Willett remains confident in their chances.  

Sophomore Kaitlin Hampton and freshmen Megan Briggs and Hannah Hayes currently lead the team in points with 161.5, 171.5 and 183.5 respectively.

Kaitlin Hampton (front) awaits a serve from sophomore Christa Todd during the Titans’ sweep of Clark College. (Photo by Jason Petorak // The Torch.)

Sophomore defensive specialist Sophia Panther has 335 digs, where player saves a spiked or difficult to get ball, greatly helping the team defensively. Her digs make up a quarter of the team’s total.

Freshman setter Taylor Russell leads the team in assists with 354, over 200 more than the next player and almost half of the teams 725 total assists.

Freshman defensive specialist Abby Mayta says the team is comfortable and that they trust each other, which helps them stay focused and together on the court. The teammates only get to play with each other for at most two years and most have only started playing together this season.

 

“The more they get to play together the easier it is to find out what works best.

– Head Coach Stephanie Willett

Looking forward to the rest of the season, Coach Willett says that they plan on taking things week by week and focusing only on the next match in front of them. While some tough competition lies in front of them in the coming weeks, players remain hopeful and ready to fight for the title they hunger for.