This Week in LBCC Athletics: Beaks Keep Winning; Previewing the Elite Eight 

Photo credit: Sarah Rose Larson

Linn-Benton women’s volleyball continued their undefeated season through the regional rounds of the NWAC Playoffs last week, defeating South Puget Sound and Yakima on their way to a berth in the upcoming Elite Eight. 

As the top-seeded team in the NWAC South, the Beaks were able to have home field advantage for both of their regional playoff matches. On November 11, they defeated South Puget Sound 3-0. The individual set scores were 25-13, 25-15, and 25-17. In their match against Yakima Valley a day later, Linn-Benton faced a bigger challenge as the Yaks took them to five sets. The Roadrunners held on to the win, however, with a score of 15-10 in the final set. 

The victory resulted in the Roadrunners extending their season-long winning streak to 33 games. But more importantly, they clinched a top seed heading into the Elite Eight round of the NWAC Playoffs. Linn-Benton has one more week of volleyball ahead of them with the chance to put the finishing touches on what has been a perfect season up to this point. 

What’s next for the Roadrunners? 

Linn-Benton volleyball will travel to Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington this weekend for the final rounds of the NWAC Playoffs. Over a three-day tournament that will take place from November 17-19, eight matches will be played to determine the NWAC champion as well as second-through-fourth place. 

Besides Linn-Benton, the other teams to make the Elite Eight include Yakima Valley, Lower Columbia, Bellevue, North Idaho, Skagit Valley, Highline, and Columbia Basin. 

The Beaks’ first match of the Elite Eight will be against Skagit Valley, the second seed from the west bracket, on November 17 at 5:00 p.m. The Skagit Valley Cardinals are one of the three teams this season to take Linn-Benton to five sets in the regular season, so they’ll provide some competition for the top-ranked Beaks. The Cardinals currently sit at 19-12, with an 8-4 record in their conference. 

Unlike the regional rounds, everything from the Elite Eight onward in the NWAC Playoffs is single-elimination, meaning a loss to Skagit Valley would mark the end of the Roadrunners’ season. However, a win would have them advancing to the next round of the playoffs on November 18, where they’d face the winner of Highline vs. Columbia Basin. Another win would send the Beaks to the championship game the following day, while a loss would result in Linn-Benton playing in a match to determine the third-place finisher. 

You can view the full NWAC Elite Eight bracket here

As the reigning champions of the NWAC, the Beaks have a target on their backs and high expectations heading into the final stretch of the playoffs. Although they’ve yet to drop a game this season, the team will need to be focused and play at a high level to ensure they don’t let up when it matters the most. 

For Roadrunners fans hoping to support the team over the weekend, information for how to watch the playoff matches both via livestream and in-person can be found on the NWAC website here

Don’t forget about basketball

As Linn-Benton volleyball plays their final few matches of the season, don’t forget that basketball season tips off this upcoming weekend as well. The women’s basketball team will take on Pierce at the Lane Titan Classic in Eugene on November 17 at 5:30 p.m. while the men will take on Linfield JV just two hours later in Albany. The following day, the women will take on Centralia at 1 p.m., also in Eugene, while the men will face Lower Columbia at 7:30 p.m. at home. 

It’s shaping up to be a great weekend of Linn-Benton sports.