The Oregon volleyball was close to the brink of seeing its unbeaten record in BNC play come to an end last week.
After losing the first game to Rockford Lutheran 25-17, the Hawks trailed 24-23 in the second game on Sept. 28.
With their backs against the wall, the Hawks responded with a pair of blocks to get the ball back in their court and went on to win 26-24. In the third game, it was all Oregon 25-13.
“The blocks really changed momentum,” Oregon coach Faith McNamee said. “In the third set, we had clutch blocks that put them away.”
Oregon took early leads in game one and two, but struggled the rest of the way. Lutheran outscored Oregon 13-4 midway through the first contest to take control.
Prior to that, Bailey Nelson had three kills, Gylian finch a tip and Makenna Mongan a block for a 6-2 Hawk lead.
In the second game, Finch got the team off to a 4-0 lead with strong service. Then McKenna Sadler started a run of tips for the Hawks, with Jasmine Herbst, Finch (2) and Nelson all chipping for an 11-4 lead.
Lutheran freshman Lauren Spangler than served her team to a 15-14 lead on a pair of aces and an identical tip that Finch had inflicted on her.
In a nip-and-tuck affair, both teams traded points with a Nelson kill and Mongan tip giving Oregon a 23-all tie.
Sophomore Lauren Montavon had key block to keep Oregon from losing match point and the Hawks pulled it out.
“After getting those lead, we lost our momentum in the first two games,” McNamee said.
In the deciding set, it was Finch getting the Hawks off to a 7-1 lead on two tips, two kills and two aces. All together, she team-high 16 kills 16 digs and five aces.
Lutheran did close to within 9-8, but Oregon got the next six service points. The Crusaders finally broke serve, but only managed on point.
A pair of Sadler kills and Finch tips later, Oregon had a comfortable 10-point lead. Finch even found time to chuckle about her last tip, a last-gasper which barely stayed in bounds.
At that point, the Hawks were on a roll and every bounce seemed to go their way, as they cruised to the easy game 3 win.
“In the third game, the stress got to us. We’re a young team,” Lutheran coach Mike Siciliano said. “Oregon did a good job of controlling errors.”
With the win, Oregon leads the BNC with a 4-0 record and 15-4 overall. Lutheran, which earlier lost to G-K, dropped to 3-2 and 15-5.
The Hawks host Winnebago on Oct. 5 at the Blackhawk Center.