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Southern Oregon tops CCC men’s soccer poll

ASHLAND — Entering the program’s fifth season, the Southern Oregon University men’s soccer team is already accustomed to being chased in the Cascade Conference.

Winners of back-to-back regular season championships, they’ll welcome more of the same after being selected as the preseason favorite in the CCC coaches’ poll, which was released Tuesday by the conference office.

The Raiders took seven of 14 first-place votes, though three other teams got at least one. Rocky Mountain (Montana), which took the 2018 CCC tournament title from SOU in penalty kicks, was second in the poll with four of them. Corban and Eastern Oregon came next.

In head coach Davie Carmichael’s first season, the Raiders finished 17-3-3 with a conference mark of 11-0-2, totaled 15 shutouts and brought a 20-game unbeaten streak to their first appearance in the Round of 16 at the NAIA National Tournament. Twenty-three players are back from that team, including eight starters, five all-conference first- or second-team selections and the CCC’s last two defensive players of the year: Michael Miller and goalkeeper Wyatt Zabinski.

SOU outscored opponents 35-3 in conference play.

SOU was No. 13 in last year’s NAIA postseason poll, while Rocky was No. 13 after advancing to the national quarterfinal round. The NAIA’s preseason poll will be released Aug. 13.

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