WINCHESTER — The Umpqua Community College volleyball team was playing for pride.
Lane was playing for a share of the Northwest Athletic Conference South Region championship.
The Riverhawks came up short in their season finale, losing to the No. 6 Titans of Eugene in straight sets on Thursday night in the UCC gym.
Scores were 25-19, 35-33, 25-15.
It was a disappointing second half of the season for Umpqua (18-19, 4-12 South), which tied for seventh in the league standings after dropping 10 of its last 12 matches.
“They were good. We could’ve done better, but I’m not disappointed with what happened tonight (effort-wise),” UCC libero Shayla Limatoc said. “We just kind of let everything get to us.”
The Riverhawks had their opportunities to win the first two sets.
Umpqua got off to a strong start in game one, leading 12-4 after a kill by Morgan Johnson. But Lane (23-9, 14-2) countered with a 10-1 run to take a 14-13 lead and the Riverhawks were unable to get the momentum back in the set.
“We just weren’t ready to play right off the bat,” admitted Lane setter Taylor Russell, a Roseburg High School graduate who had a match-high 38 assists. “They caught us off guard. UCC came out ready to battle, but we were ready to battle as well. We just had to get it going.”
“I’m honestly not sure (what happened),” said UCC middle blocker Johanna Pope, a former Glide High standout. “We lost a little bit of adrenaline. There wasn’t a lot of talking.”
Both clubs refused to give in during a classic second set.
The Riverhawks had five chances to close out the game, but couldn’t do it. Russell ended the set with an ace.
“It sucks losing the second set, but we stepped up. The second set was a big improvement from the first set,” Pope said. “We pulled it together and that was nice.”
“I feel like we played well in the second set,” said UCC setter Katelyn Crawford, a Roseburg graduate. “I’m just focused on how we worked hard and how cohesive we worked together as a team during that set, rather than focusing on the loss.”
The deflated Riverhawks were never in the third set, and the Titans left the gym with a sweep. Russell closed out the set and match with an ace.
Lane, guided by former University of Oregon coach Jim Moore, heads to the NWAC tournament next weekend in Tacoma, Washington.
Sophie Johnson had 20 kills and Cassidy Herbert added 12 kills and 24 digs for Lane. Russell made 19 digs.
Kaitlen Haas led UCC with 16 kills and made 16 digs. McKenna Wilson contributed 20 digs, Limatoc had 18 digs, Crawford chipped in 18 assists and Morgan Johnson had five kills. Pope made three assist blocks.
Three sophomores — Limatoc, Wilson and Lamardia Utupo — played in their final match for UCC. They were recognized following the contest.
“We all really wanted to go the NWACs,” Limatoc said. “We’ve had our ups and downs and a lot of close matches just didn’t go our way. We’ve had a tough mental season.”
“It’s bittersweet. I love all the sophomores, I don’t want to see them go,” Crawford said. “It feels like a short span of time I’ve played with them.
“Even though we didn’t make it to NWACs, I’m still proud of how we played. I’m proud of how we grew as a team during the season.”