COLLEGE ROUNDUP: No. 9 SOU downs No. 3 EOU in 5
LA GRANDE — A shocked crowd at Quinn Coliseum watched Southern Oregon resuscitate its Cascade Conference title hopes mid-match and eventually halt third-ranked Eastern Oregon’s 14-match winning streak in a five-set classic on Friday night.
After dropping the matchup in a tiebreaker five weeks ago, the ninth-ranked Raiders scuffled early before overcoming a two-set deficit — a feat they hadn’t pulled off on the road since 2012 — for a 23-25, 14-25, 25-16, 25-23, 17-15 victory.
SOU (24-3 overall, 15-2 CCC) and EOU (25-2, 15-2), last year’s conference co-champions, are locked atop the standings again with three regular-season matches left to play.
Working on another CCC Player of the Year campaign, senior right-side Taylor Ristvedt wouldn’t let the Raiders lose. They fed her often in the clutch, and she responded by dropping in six of her 21 kills in the fifth set before Maddie Pernich’s block of Hailee Ackerman clinched the win.
Pernich had 19 kills — including team-highs of five in the third and six of the fourth to bring the Raiders back — but she and Ristvedt weren’t alone in providing heroics. Elliott Cook had 13 kills on 26 attacks and Makayla Hoyt had 12 on 28, and the all-star middles went back-to-back to start the Raiders’ night-ending three-point rally as they fought off match point.
Senior libero Emma Ryan pulled in a match-high 31 digs, including a couple of the match-saving variety late while outstretched on the floor. The reigning CCC Libero of the Year was aided in the back row by Sara Fanger, who recorded six of her 14 digs in the fifth set, and Kadyn Jones, who added 14 more.
Setters Hannah Bogatin (38 assists) and Tehani Faitau (25 assists) helped the Raiders adjust to EOU’s block, which stands as the third-most proficient in the NAIA. Through the first two sets, the Mountaineers recorded nine blocks while SOU hit .178; over the last three, they combined for six while the Raiders hit .302.
The win was the Raiders’ fifth in five sets this season, and they’ve had to come back in each of them. They’re working on a nine-match overall winning streak.
The Mountaineers have taken three losses at home over the last two seasons. The Raiders are responsible for two of them.
EOU’s Megan Bunn dominated with 24 kills on 59 swings, while Jet Taylor totaled nine assisted blocks and Taylor Tibbetts had seven.
SOU will be tested again tonight, when it finishes the trip at 21st-ranked College of Idaho.
Should the Raiders and Mountaineers finish the regular season as co-champions, as of now the Mountaineers would own the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed — and therefore hosting rights for the CCC Tournament — by virtue of having lost fewer sets against the third-place team, Corban.
LANE CC 3, ROGUE CC 2: Lane fought back from an 8-6 deficit in the final set to hand Rogue Community College just its third loss of the season, 21-25, 31-29, 27-25, 13-25, 15-13.
The loss dropped the Ospreys (23-3, 11-2 Northwest Athletic Conference) to second place in the league’s South region, a half-game behind Lane.
SOUTHERN OREGON 2, EVERGREEN 0: At Olympia, Wash., senior midfielder Luis Aguilar scored one second-half goal and assisted another as the Southern Oregon men’s soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to seven games on Friday with a 2-0 win at Evergreen (Wash.).
The Raiders (11-5-1 overall, 9-2-1 Cascade Conference) didn’t allow a shot on goal after giving up one in three of their previous games during the streak. They’ve now gone unbeaten in seven straight or more during each of the last four seasons.
With one game left in the regular season, they’re officially locked into the No. 3 seed for the eight-team CCC Championships, which are scheduled for Nov. 12-15 in Springfield. First-place Corban and second-place Rocky Mountain (Mont.) are separated by a point entering their final matches, and the regular-season winner will take the conference’s first automatic bid to the NAIA Opening Round. The second bid will go to the tourney champion or other finalist.
Against the eighth-place Geoducks (8-8-0, 6-6-0), Aguilar broke a scoreless tie in the 60th minute by curling in a free kick for his second goal of the season. In the 80th, his shot was saved by Evergreen keeper Tristan Glaser, but he was credited with the assist when Brendan Allen cleaned up on the rebound.
Allen’s goal was his third of the season and the 17th of his career.
Following a four-game winning streak, the Geoducks have lost two in a row. They’ve gone winless in their last four meetings with the Raiders, and scoreless in the last three.
SOU wraps up today against Northwest (Wash.), which will enter the match tied for sixth place but would be in danger of dropping out of the playoff picture with a loss. The Eagles defeated Oregon Tech on Friday, 2-0.
SOUTHERN OREGON 5, EVERGREEN 0: At Olympia, Wash., Southern Oregon’s four-game winning streak has coincided with an uptick in production from Madison Childers, Michala Denn and Misty Martinez, and the trio delivered again as the Raiders pocketed the blowout win.
After tallying her second and third goals of the season in SOU’s most recent outing, Martinez went for two more by striking in the 14th and 15th minutes to give the Raiders (9-5-2 overall, 6-3-2 Cascade Conference) a 2-0 lead. They cruised from there, doing all of their scoring before halftime, and stayed in fifth place going into today’s regular-season finale at Northwest (Wash.).
Aislinn Waite and Ruth Hegstad were credited with assists on Martinez’s goals, which gave her 13 in her three-year career. In the 31st minute, Mia Santander set up Kaya Baird for her third goal of the season.
SOU’s next two were unassisted: Denn tallied her third goal in SOU’s last four games in the 40th minute, and Childers registered points for the fourth game in a row by depositing her fifth goal in the 41st.
Raider keeper Jessie Selby got her fifth shutout — and SOU’s fourth straight — by making all six of her saves in the second half.
SOU finished with a 16-10 edge in shots.
Over its last three games, SOU has scored 11 first-half goals.
The Raiders — who have already clinched a spot in the eight-team CCC Championships, to be held Nov. 12-15 in Springfield — can secure the No. 5 seed with a win and would finish no lower than sixth with a point at Northwest. They lead sixth-place Corban by one point and seventh-place College of Idaho by three in the standings.
Northwest, ranked 25th in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll, dropped to second place with Friday’s 4-3, double-overtime loss to the new first-place team, Oregon Tech.
CARROLL 79, SOUTHERN OREGON 58: At Butte, Mont., Carroll (Mont.) forward Joven Sljivancanin torched Southern Oregon with 34 points and 13 rebounds and the Raiders turned in a clunker in their opener inside the HPER Complex at the Montana Tech Tip-Off Classic.
Joven Sljivancanin, a 6-foot-5 sophomore lefty from Serbia, led the Saints to 55-percent shooting from the field by going 14-of-19 with four 3-pointers. He helped them run away early by dropping 18 in the first half while SOU shot 6 of 24 before the break.
The game was also the first for the Saints, who were most recently on the court for the 2019 NAIA Division I title game. They got an additional 12 points and four assists from Dane Warp, the Frontier Conference’s preseason player of the year.
Aaron Borich’s 17 points, three assists and three steals led SOU. The senior point guard shot 5 of 10 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3, but the rest of the Raiders combined to miss all 14 of their attempts from downtown.
Tate Hoffman scored 15 and Conor Carroll had 11 off the bench, shooting 4-of-5. Hunter Bradford — who last played in the 2016-17 season, missing the past two years due to injury — impressed in his debut with seven points and eight rebounds.
The Raiders will finish the trip today against the tourney host Montana Tech.