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Titans battle to 5-set victory against SWOCC on Sophomore Night

Left to right: Christa Todd, Avery Brookshire, Kaitlin Hampton, Stacia Panther, and Shelby Dubay
Left to right: Christa Todd, Avery Brookshire, Kaitlin Hampton, Stacia Panther, and Shelby Dubay

The Titans lost set one, but the Titans came back to win sets two and three before losing set four. In the fifth set the Titans got the lead and never lost it, in a 15-8 victory and a 3-2 set victory to avoid a season sweep to a bottom ranking Lakers team.

How it happened: The Titans scored the first three points of the match and forced a timeout leading 8-2. The lead was a large as nine, 17-8, but the Lakers battled back to tie the first set at 22. The Titans had set point, 26-25, forcing Lakers second and final timeout. The Titans would get two more set point opportunities, but fail to convert. The Titans then saved two set points, but the Lakers would complete their comeback with a 30-28 set one win. This was the best hitting set for the Lakers who hit .204 with a match high 17 kills. On the other side the Titans had six hitting errors and only hit .132. 

The second set was competitive from the start. The Titans lead after 15 points, 8-7; they would go on a 5-2 run, but the Lakers would again not go away. The Titans forced the Lakers first timeout of the set, leading 18-14. The timeout didn't work, as the Titans would score seven of the last 12 points in a 25-19 victory. The Lakers would go from their best hitting set to their worst, hitting -.125 due to only five kills and nine errors. The Titans improved from set one, hitting .194, but they had two fewer kills and one fewer errors.

The third set finished with the same score as the second, 25-19. This time it was the Titans needing a comeback to avoid a must win fourth set. Down 8-12 coach Willett called her first timeout of the set for the Titans. It would work in the Titans favor. They would go on a 7-2 run forcing a Laker timeout. The Lakers were not as fortunate, as the Titans finished the set on a 10-5 run. The Titans again didn't hit well, finishing the set at .089 with 11 kills and six errors. Their inefficiency would not be punished because the Lakers were worst, hitting .033 with a match-high 10 errors. 

The Titans hitting dipped lower in the fourth set and would lead to a 10-6 deficit that would cause a timeout. It didn't work, they were down 15-9 in the middle of the set. The Titans stayed composed and would close the gap to three, 18-15, and force a Lakers timeout. The timeout worked for the Lakers and led to a 7-1 ending run in a Lakers 25-16 victory. The Titans hitting percentage dipped to .026 and a match low seven kills. The Lakers were not good either, but they were better just like the winner of each previous set was. They hit .184 with a match-low four errors.

The fifth set was completely different. The Titans forced a Laker timeout leading 6-2, but it didn't matter. They were executing offensively and avoiding unforced errors. The Titans finished off the fifth set with a 15-8 victory and led the entire way. The Lakers hit .000 with four kills and errors. The Titans hit a match-best .318 and a match-low one error.

Overall the Lakers hit .078 with a season high 33 errors. The Titans hit .129, their lowest since a 3-0 loss at Clackamas. The Titans also had 10 service errors, matching their most in a win, the other time was a five set victory over Mt. Hood on the road.

What/who stood out: Their were 10 timeouts called between the two teams, seven coming from SWOCC. With the exception of the fifth set, the winner of the set was down during the set. Stacia Panther moved into 2nd place in the NWAC in total digs after a season high 36. Hannah Hayes, who is in top 10 in hitting percentage, had a game high 17 kills on 36 attempts. Taylor Russell, who is the team leader in assists, had 22 assists and 10 digs. Saige Brashears, who's in the top-10 in solo blocks, lead the Titans with four solo blocks. The NWAC leader in solo blocks, Meagan Briggs, had 2.

What it means: The win pulled the Titans to a 1/2 game behind 2nd place Chemeketa. It also moves the Titans to within one win of clinching a playoff spot.

What's next: The Titans play at Umpqua tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. With a win they'll tie Chemeketa and clinch a playoff spot.