Umpqua came in fourth in the league, the South division, after tournament play.

The UCC women’s volleyball team created a night to behold Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Riverhawk nest defeating the SWOCC Lakers in dominating fashion, winning all the three sets 25-14, 25-13, 25-13. The night honored the sophomores who will be graduating later this year as Wednesday night’s game was the last home game of the year. On this sophomore night with friends and family in the stands, the Riverhawks earned the fourth seed in the South region and will move onto the NWAC Championship Tournament in Tacoma, Washington.

The Riverhawks started off fast right from the start, building early leads in each of the three sets. Outside hitters Viviana Rodriguez and Olivia Gulliford both had 10 kills on the night. Setter Kaylee Hagadorn provided the helping hand with 22 assists and Libero Kaysie Cornelio had another solid night defensively with 16 digs. With the win, the Riverhawks will play against the Bellevue College Bulldogs in the NWAC Championship Tournament Thursday, Nov. 17. The Riverhawks have not played in the NWAC Tournament since 2012.

The gymnasium filled with plenty of smiles and laughter as many people traveled to see loved ones potentially play their last game of their college career. Setter Kaylee Hagadorn is excited to earn a berth into the NWAC Tournament in her final year as a college athlete, “For me at least, I don’t plan on playing on, so this is my final goodbye to the sport, this is the last team that will have my heart. It’s not just a game or a tournament; it’s everything that I’ve put hard work into and everything this team has put hard work into this season.”

With championship season ahead, head coach Lacy Pinard is getting the team to switch focus and mentally prepare for what lies ahead. “It’s a whole new type of competition we’re going into,” Pinard says. “It’s a double elimination tournament. One team will come out through the loser’s bracket to play the championship and one will be winner’s bracket. We’re a team that knows how to win and we also know how to handle losses. I think that’s a benefit going into this, it’s just a matter of being consistent and cleaning up our unforced errors.”

The Riverhawks’ morale is high after a dominating win on Wednesday night and with knowledge of how close the team was when they played the Bulldogs earlier this season. The Riverhawks lost the best of three game two sets to one on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Riverhawk women won the first set 25-21, lost the second set 25-19, and lost the final set 15-11. With the comradery and togetherness the team showed Wednesday night and past experiences against Bellevue, the Riverhawks see no reason not to be confident moving forward.

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Riverhawk sophomores Eleanor Woodhead, Marie Garcia, Kaysie Cornelio, Kortney Moore, Cheyenne Chambers, Viviana Rodriguez and Kaylee Hagadorn celebrate their NWAC Tournament berth after their win over SWOCC.
Corden Drift / The Mainstream