Seniors Marie Baumann (L) and Kayleigh Whelchel (R) finished their home collegiate volleyball career with an upset win over No. 10 Eastern Oregon. (photo by Kelly Caleb)
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – In their final home matches of their collegiate career, Oregon Tech
seniors Marie Baumann (Weston, Ore.) and Kayleigh Whelchel (Sheridan,
Ore.), not only defeated Eastern Oregon for their first time ever, but
pushed Tech into a postseason berth for the first time since 2008. It
was Oregon Tech’s first win over the Mountaineers since the same 2008
With the 3-1, (21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 30-28) victory the Owls moved to 14-16 overall and 7-9 in Cascade Conference play. No. 10 Eastern Oregon fell to 23-5 on the year and 13-3 in the conference standings.
Oregon Tech closes out CCC action at Concordia University and Warner Pacific this Friday and Saturday in Portland.
In set 1 Oregon Tech and the tenth-ranked Mountaineers kept things close throughout the match. With the Owls trailing 12-9, back-to-back kills from Kylie Kitzmiller and Kelsey Sampson inched the Owls closer at 13-12. EOU, however, answered with a four-run push to move up 17-12, and all the room they needed. Tech would get as close as two, 20-18, but Eastern would earn a 25-21 win in the opener.
In set 2 Oregon Tech dug out of a 6-1 hole as the Mountaineers jumped out early. Down six points at 13-7, Oregon Tech mounted a comeback using a Madisen Garlie kill along with an EOU error and ace from Marlee Smith to close the gap, 13-10. Still trailing the visitors, 18-13, Tech managed to string together five-straight behind a Marlee Smith spike, an ace from Renee Baumann and three EOU miscues to tie it up at 18-18. Oregon Tech would accept three more Mountaineer errors to take a 23-21 lead. EOU would score the next point coming out of a timeout but a Kitzmiller kill gave the home team a 24-22 lead, while Tech would take set 2, 25-23, on EOU’s attack error at set point.
Coming off a win in set 2, and playing inspired volleyball, Oregon Tech rolled out to a 12-4 advantage. Marlee Smith would record three kills and Sampson one on the run. Jumping out to their largest advantage, 19-10, EOU mounted their comeback. Pulling to within six, 19-13, then four, 21-17 and then one on a Casey Loper kill, 23-22. Sampson put the Owls at set point, 24-22, on her spike, while EOU scored next as Taylor Stewart answered for EOU. The Owls would move up 2-1 after an attack error to take set 3 by a 25-23 final.
Set 4 would see seven ties with the teams knotted at 10-10 before Eastern added some breathing room moving up 21-16. Down four at 23-18, Tech followed with four-straight points, including kills from Sampson and Kitzmiller before EOU went to set point, 24-22, on a Kayla Randles score. Kitzmiller and Sampson scored on back-to-back kills as the Owls tied the set at 24-24. Both teams next battled through furious rallies to see the set tied for the 13th and final time at 28-28. Tech freshman Madisen Garlie made it 29-28, with an EOU error giving the Owls the match, 3-1.
For the Owls Kelsey Sampson finished with 16 kills, followed by 14 from Marlee Smith. Madisen Garlie recorded nine and Kylie Kitzmiller eight in the win. Kayleigh Whelchel recorded 28 assists and 11 digs, with Tori Porter adding 23 assists and 14 digs. Marie Baumann came up with a match-high 26 digs with Smith adding 20 and Sampson 19 for Tech.
EOU was led by Casey Loper’s 21 kills with Taylor Stewart coming up with 15 and Stefani Sorensen 14 in the loss. Karly Stack recorded a match-high 44 assists to go with her 20 digs, while Katie Keeney anchoring the Mountaineer defense with a team-high 24 digs.