Umpqua Volleyball Advances

Umpqua Volleyball Advances

With the pressure mounting and their season on the line, the Umpqua Community College Riverhawks lived to play another day on the volleyball court Friday afternoon.

Umpqua overcame a loss in the first set of a best-of-three consolation contest and rallied past Edmonds in the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament at the Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center.

Set scores were 16-25, 27-25, 15-13.

The Riverhawks (28-22) are among eight teams still remaining in the tournament. Umpqua, the fourth-place team out of the Southern Region, will face No. 7 Clark (29-10) at 10 a.m. today.

The Penguins of Vancouver, who finished second behind No. 1 Linn-Benton in the South during the regular season, eliminated No. 4 Highline 25-23, 25-22.

Sophomore Viviana Rodriguez led UCC with 13 kills against Edmonds (25-18). Ex-Sutherlin standout Olivia Gulliford chipped in 11 kills, Kaylee Hagadorn 26 assists and Kaysie Cornelio 18 digs.

"We were flat at the beginning," admitted Rodriguez, who prepped at Henley High in Klamath Falls. "We weren't playing our best volleyball. Once we realized this might be the last match we play together we went all out. Our energy was amazing. We were drilling (hitting) what was open and our communication picked up a lot."

It was UCC's second come-from-behind win in the tournament. The Riverhawks knocked off No. 5 Bellevue in five games Thursday morning after dropping the first two sets of the best-of-five match.

"The girls waited until the last second, but did finish and took care of it (today)," said UCC coach Lacy Pinard. "We were able to overcome some things we didn't put together in the first match (today against Lower Columbia). We were struggling to pick up offense, but once Viviana (Rodriguez) got a couple of kills Olivia (Gulliford) started feeding off of that."

Payton Calhoun had 11 kills for Edmonds.

The Riverhawks dropped into the consolation bracket Friday morning with a 25-22, 25-17, 25-21 loss to No. 6 Lower Columbia.

Kallie Schmit had 16 kills and Rachel Erickson 13 kills for the Red Devils.

Gulliford finished with 13 kills for UCC. Dominique Wenzler-Steves added six kills, Kamalani Cachola 15 assists, Hagadorn 12 assists and Cornelio 19 digs.

"Our communication and chemistry was off," Rodriguez said.

Pinard agreed.

"We didn't have our game together," the coach said.

The Riverhawks lost a pair of league matches to Clark during the regular season, but feel they can compete with the Penguins.

"We can't play passive," Rodriguez said. "We all need to be aggressive."