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Van Well leads SOU Volleyball in dominating opener

The long-awaited SOU Volleyball season opener did not disappoint the 350 fans that stepped foot inside the Lithia Motors Pavilion on Thursday. No. 25 Southern Oregon (1-0) looked like its usual self in a dominating, 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-16), victory over Simpson University (0-1).

Posted: Aug 20, 2021 12:07 AM

ASHLAND, Ore--- The long-awaited SOU Volleyball season opener did not disappoint the 350 fans that stepped foot inside the Lithia Motors Pavilion on Thursday. No. 25 Southern Oregon (1-0) looked like its usual self in a dominating, 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-16), victory over Simpson University (0-1). 

Not only did SOU return to floor after 20-month hiatus, but it welcomed fans back inside for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Southern Oregon opened the match with some very evident nerves. The Raiders found themselves in a 3-6 hole in the first several possessions. SOU head coach Josh Rohlfing called a quick timeout. 

"You know, I was just talking to the setters because they were a little nervous and understandably so. They have not played in a match in a couple years," said Rohlfing. "I just talked to them. I said "Hey, you have to calm down. Play our game. It is just like a practice."

Rohlfing's reassurance seems to have worked. The Raiders immediately went on a massive run that gave the Raiders an 8-7 lead. From that point forward, SOU never looked back. 

The student section grew in numbers as the match went forward. As the section got bigger and louder, the Raiders became more and more dominant. 

"At this point it has all been said," said Rohlfing. "We had so many nerves in the first set. Once we settled down, we looked like a really good volleyball team."

Dallas, Oregon native and sophomore outside hitter Hailey Van Well led the Raiders on the attack. Van Well went off for 14 kills while hitting .500.

 "We have finally connected I think during practices. I think tonight really showed that we have come together and really put it all together," said Van Well. 

Outside hitter Katie Vroman saw the floor for the first time as a Raider. A torn ACL put her on the sideline for the entirety of the 2019 season. Vroman entered the match in the second set and registered her first points at SOU. Vroman finished with six kills while hitting .455. 

"Honestly, it was great. I was not as nervous as I thought I was going to be," said Vroman "My goal tonight was to have fun. That was the reason I think I personally did well but I think we all had fun together." 

Gwen Sheldon spread the love around the floor. Sheldon finished with an impressive 20 assists. 

Southern Oregon will be back in action for the William Jessup Invitational in Rocklin, California. SOU will play Menlo (Calif.) on Friday, August 27. The first serve will be at 11:00 a.m.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 394569

Reported Deaths: 5243
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Multnomah60720847
Washington42359405
Marion40153516
Clackamas33040387
Lane30428361
Jackson25105363
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Umatilla15144184
Linn14859183
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Josephine10278247
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Klamath9112149
Polk8325102
Benton615338
Malheur593292
Coos5768109
Columbia438056
Jefferson424366
Lincoln365852
Crook343057
Union340756
Wasco318646
Clatsop263635
Baker221833
Tillamook218046
Hood River216537
Morrow197825
Curry193939
Harney121333
Grant109116
Lake105617
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 5105427

Reported Deaths: 74781
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153243027225
San Diego4091824350
Riverside3892365381
San Bernardino3762805983
Orange3352965756
Sacramento1690952452
Kern1582701828
Fresno1574692270
Santa Clara1528571928
Alameda1256281512
San Joaquin1080791835
Ventura1043091192
Contra Costa1042181056
Stanislaus919641429
Tulare867391100
San Francisco57141674
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Solano47828360
Santa Barbara47523555
Merced45309671
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San Luis Obispo31667360
Madera26388311
Shasta26221461
Butte25608318
Santa Cruz22402224
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Tehama10316131
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Nevada10112105
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Lake7057113
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Siskiyou479657
Glenn458536
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Del Norte377942
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Inyo257346
Plumas19577
Mono19034
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