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No. 23 SOU boots Providence

ASHLAND — The No. 23 Southern Oregon women’s soccer team lived up to its billing in its first home weekend as an NAIA Top 25 team and kept its Cascade Conference record clean in the process.

Two days after shutting out defending co-champion Carroll (Mont.), SOU eased to a 3-1 victory against Providence (Mont.) on Sunday morning at Raider Stadium, giving up the Argos’ only goal on a penalty kick.

Ruth Hedgstad assisted Kaya Baird on a pair of perfectly-executed set pieces for the first two goals of the game. And after Providence’s Eme McLaughlin cut the lead in half, Baylee Touey extended it again via Trinity Rhoades’ long pass from beyond midfield.

The Raiders boosted their record to 5-2-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the CCC. The Argos (2-5-0, 1-3-0) went home with a winless weekend.

Two corner kicks from the right side by Hegstad, a sophomore from Fargo, N.D., produced identical results: clean headers near the far post by Baird. The sophomore from Seattle got the first two goals of her career in the 20th and 57th minutes.

McLaughlin’s successful penalty kick — the consequence of a foul in the box — came in the 58th minute and gave her 11 goals on the season, the 13th-highest total in the NAIA.

Touey, the freshman forward, struck back just three minutes later. Rhoades’ pass sailed more than 50 yards down field and Touey beat everyone to the ball, including keeper Dakota Neumann, which gave Touey a clear lane for a left-to-right strike. It was her second goal of the weekend and team-leading sixth of the season, and Rhoades’ assist was her first.

Raider keeper Jessie Selby made 10 saves, with eight in the first half, in her first start since being named the CCC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time.

It was Selby’s second outing with double-digit saves, and she got some help from defender Michala Denn, who kept the Argos off the board early by clearing a ball inches off the goal line.

SOU’s home unbeaten streak expanded to 13 games going back to 2017.

Men’s Soccer

SOUTHERN OREGON 2, PROVIDENCE 0: At Ashland, Raider Stadium has traditionally acted as a cure-all for the Southern Oregon men’s soccer team, and the Raiders gave no indication anything has changed in that regard while completing a perfect weekend on Sunday afternoon.

Winners of back-to-back games for the first time in 2019, SOU (4-4 overall) improved to 2-1 in Cascade Conference play with its first shutout in five weeks. The Raiders used a pretty sequence to get the only goal they needed in the 59th minute, when Michael Miller came from midfield and passed down the right side to Sam Walker, who arrived at the end line and quickly centered it to Renee Resendez for a point-blank strike.

With the Argos (4-2-1, 2-2) in desperation mode and loaded up down field inside the final minute, the ball popped out of a crowd to freshman Alan Gaytan, who broke away and raced into the box for his first collegiate score with 12 seconds on the clock.

SOU kept its home CCC unbeaten streak active at 15 games dating back to 2017. Fourteen of those have been wins, and 13 have been shutouts.

The Raiders’ dominance in possession meant Wyatt Zabinski needed to make just one save. He faced six total shots and the Argos didn’t put any on target in the final 85 minutes.

Gaytan got off five shots for the Raiders, two of which went on goal against Providence keeper Hernan Perez. Perez saw 11 shots and recorded two saves.

SOU has blanked the Argos in each of the teams’ last three meetings.

Miller and Walker were both credited with assists on Resendez’s goal, which brought Miller’s team-high total to four and Walker’s to two. Resendez got his first points of the season.