KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Down 18-14 in the first set, Oregon Tech volleyball coach Andrew Clifton called time out. What the animated coach told the Hustlin’ Owls, it worked.
Tech rallied to take a 20-18 lead, never trailed the rest of the night and finished with a 25-20, 25-12, 25-10 Cascade Collegiate Conference victory in OIT’s home opener Thursday night at Danny Miles Court.
“Basically, at that time out, he told us we needed to take our practices onto the court,” junior Jaime Toedtemeier said after Tech evened its league record at 1-1, upped its overall record to 8-4 and snapped a modest two-match losing skid.
“What changed (Thursday night) is that, regardless of our opponent, we want to play at our level,” she added.”We had to think not just about this match, but how we will respond to teams like Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, some of the top teams in our league,” sophomore Nicole Reyes said. “We had to play at our pace.”What changed after that time out was our mental game,” Reyes said.
“It was great to see us bounce back after a tough night (Wednesday at Southern), and a competitive first game,” Clifton said. “After last weekend and these last two matches, we are ready to get in the gym and work a few things out.”
Once in the lead Thursday, Tech controlled the level of play.
Before the time out, there had been eight ties and a lead change, one which allowed Walla Walla to work its way to its 18-14 lead.
Six straight OIT points gave Tech the lead, and a block by Melody Edwards, one of four solo blocks she had in the match, gave the Hustlin’ Owls the set, 25-20. At that time, it was largest lead either team had held.
In the second set, Tech opened with a 3-0 advantage, upped that to 14-9 and then watched as the Wolves inched back to 14-11.
The Hustlin’ Owls then pulled away and another Edwards blocked sealed the set.
Tech opened with a 7-1 lead in the third set and never seriously was threatened. An attempted Walla Walla kill landed in the net to complete the match, and it dropped the Wolves to 0-1 in the league and 0-7 for the season.
“It was good to pick it up at the end,” Toedtemeier said with a grin.
The Owls host Warner Pacific at 7 p.m. next Friday and Multnomah at 5 p.m. next Saturday.