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SOU men set for league play

ASHLAND — Following a 5-0 start that likely took some of the NAIA soccer world by surprise, the Southern Oregon University men's soccer team is ready to get an introduction to the Cascade Conference.

The Raiders, who in the first year of the program's existence have started by outscoring opponents 15-2, could see a hike in competition this weekend when they visit College of Idaho (1-0) today and Rocky Mountain (4-0) on Sunday. After that, they'll make their home debut Sept. 18 and 19 against Walla Walla and Multnomah.

Three of SOU's wins are more plausible than the others: They defeated fellow first-year program (and shorthanded) Sierra Nevada 10-1, handed Pacific Union its 58th consecutive loss by a 2-0 count, and accepted a forfeit from Trinity Lutheran. But a 3-1 win over Menlo (which went 9-3 in the Cal Pacific Conference last year and returned nearly everyone) and a 1-0 overtime victory at William Jessup (which went 5-9-2 last year and is two seasons removed from an 8-4-1 campaign in the Cal Pac) give reason to believe that being picked ahead of five other CCC teams may not have been such a liberal estimation of the Raiders' potential after all.

C of I was picked sixth in the CCC preseason poll after going 5-9 in the loop last season. Rocky Mountain is a first-year associate member of the CCC, but after going 11-10 in 2014 the Bears were picked to finish fourth and even received a couple first-place votes.

Women’s Soccer

RAIDERS HIT ROAD: The Southern Oregon University women's soccer team kicks off Cascade Collegiate Conference play this weekend with road games today at College of Idaho and Sunday Rocky Mountain (Mont.).

The Raiders (1-3-2) were picked to finish fourth for the second year in a row in the CCC preseason poll. Their first opponent, College of Idaho (4-1), was picked sixth after finishing 7-6-4 overall and 4-2-3 in conference last year. Rocky Mountain (2-1-1), entering its first year in the CCC, trails SOU was picked fifth.