SOU ROUNDUP: No. 7 Raiders wrap up CCC title run
ASHLAND — Needing every bit of a 12-match winning streak to end the regular season, seventh-ranked Southern Oregon completed its dominant run with a celebration on Saturday night, defeating Evergreen (Wash.) to secure the 15th Cascade Conference championship in team history at Lithia Motors Pavilion.
The Raiders (27-3 overall, 18-2 CCC) made it back-to-back titles for the first time since 2009-10 with a 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 win, riding Taylor Ristvedt’s 19 kills to their 14th sweep of a conference opponent. Next, they’ll attempt to defend their tournament title when the CCC Championships return to Ashland for the semifinal and final rounds next week.
They finished as co-champions with Eastern Oregon for the second year in a row, but a higher percentage of sets won in CCC matches gave SOU the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed, tourney hosting rights and the circuit’s first automatic bid to the NAIA Championships.
The Raiders will play their semifinal match at 7 p.m. Friday against an opponent yet to be determined, after EOU plays its semifinal at 3:30 p.m. The championship is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday.
The final touch on Ristvedt’s campaign for another CCC Player of the Year award was a .457 attacking average and the highest kill total of her career in a three-set match. Elliott Cook checked in with seven kills, Hannah Bogatin totaled 30 assists and eight digs, and Emma Ryan notched a match-high 16 digs.
SOU has won six regular-seson titles since Josh Rohlfing became the head coach in 2007.
“This winning streak we went on — having eight on the road and knowing every night was do-or-die for the entire second half — shows what incredible character our seniors have,” Rohlfing said. “They took the reins and willed themselves to win matches throughout. It’s a tribute to their work ethic and what they’ve put into this program.”
The Geoducks (12-17, 10-10) were eliminated from postseason contention with the loss.
Another senior, Nila Lukens, had six kills, as did Maddie Pernich. Kylie Ristvedt added five on 11 swings.
The Raiders rolled through the first set, scoring five straight points to take a commanding 20-10 lead behind five Taylor Ristvedt kills without an error. The second was tied 20-20 before a Pernich kill and Bogatin’s ace started a set-ending 5-2 run.
They scored six unanswered in the third set — Makayla Hoyt capped the spurt by teaming up with Lukens and Ristvedt for blocks — to take an 18-13 lead. Ristvedt finished the match with her loudest kill of the night.
Chloee Hunt kept the Geoducks competitive in every frame with 15 kills on 23 attacks and three assisted blocks. Sierra Wolff had 32 assists and Leiko Yamauchi had 10 digs.
The Raiders have swept all but one unranked opponent they faced since the start of September and will enter the postseason with a 14-2 record at home.
MONTANA WESTERN 75, SOUTHERN OREGON 56: At Lewiston, Idaho, another frigid outing from 3-point range in the LC State Twin Rivers Physical Therapy Classic was too much for Southern Oregon to overcome at the LCSC Activity Center.
The Bulldogs (4-2), last season’s NAIA Division I national champions, took a 17-point lead into halftime after outscoring the Raiders (1-2) 19-5 in the second quarter and never relinquished it. They were red-hot from outside, shooting 11-of-21, as Sydney Sheridan and Savanna Bignell came off the bench to make all five of their combined attempts.
Mesa King, another reserve, and Paige Holmes both scored 12 points for UMW, and Shannon Worster had eight points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Syd’Nee Fryer poured in game-highs of 15 points and nine rebounds for SOU. Delaney Sparling scored 11 points with three 3-pointers off the bench and freshman Kami Walk recorded nine points and four boards.
Less than 24 hours after going 5-of-26 from 3 against Lewis-Clark State, the Raiders went 5-of-27 against UMW and shot 27 percent overall.
They’ll return to action at the Lithia Oregon Tech Classic in Klamath Falls, playing next Friday against Simpson (Calif.) and Saturday against UC Merced. Both games will tip off at 1 p.m.
At Oregon City, junior 133-pounder Beau Shatto made a semifinal appearance to highlight Southern Oregon’s efforts on Saturday afternoon at the Clackamas Open, the team’s first action of the season.
Shatto, making his Raider debut, started with a second-round pin of Simon Fraser’s Flixzl Reyes and won a 6-5 quarterfinal decision against Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Jack Shack. Jason Shaner of Clackamas won 17-2 in the semifinals to direct Shatto to the consolation bracket, where he was bounced by Clackamas’s Hunter Sparks by technical fall.
Two Raiders earned three consolation victories: 157-pounder JJ Talavera and 184-pounder Tanner Sallee. Talavera picked up bonus points in all three of his wins and Sallee pinned two of his opponents in a row. Both forfeited their consolation semifinal matches.
SOUTHERN OREGON 27, MSU-NORTHERN 19: At Havre, Mont., Southern Oregon’s offense did its part in the first half and the defense came up with two big stops late as the Raiders hung on for a 27-19 win against Montana-State Northern on Saturday at Blue Pony Stadium, stopping a two-game skid.
Wyatt Hutchinson passed for 359 yards in his return to the lineup, and Jordan Suell snagged a pair of touchdown catches for the third game in a row, totaling 160 yards on nine receptions. The duo helped the Raiders (4-6 overall) build a lead that was 27-7 five minutes into the third quarter.
After the Lights (1-9) scored two straight touchdowns to get back into it — Cameron Taylor’s one-yard rush made it 27-19 with 9:27 remaining — the Raider defense halted the comeback by turning them away in SOU territory on their last two drives. Collin Crown and Noah Johnson headed the effort with seven tackles apiece, and Johnson forced two fumbles and recovered one.
At 4-5 in the Frontier Conference, the Raiders kept hope of a .500 season alive going into next Saturday’s finale at 23rd-ranked Montana Western.
The Lights have now dropped 36 consecutive Frontier games dating back to 2016.
Suell has now recorded seven TD catches in his last four games, 11 on the season and 26 in his career — the fourth-highest total in Raider history. The latest effort marked his highest yardage total at SOU in an FC game, and his TD catches went for 48 yards in the first quarter and one yard in the second to put the Raiders a 21-0 lead.
He also gave them a chance to put the game away in the fourth, making a 53-yard catch at the Lights’ 1-yard line with a 27-19 lead, but the ball was fumbled away three plays later.
Hutchinson, who missed his second game due to injury last week, completed 27-of-40 attempts without an interception. Hykeem Massey jump-started the offense with a 19-yard TD run to cap an 89-yard drive in the first, and Graycen Kennedy padded the lead with field goals of 29 and 27 yards.
Jason Shelley added two catches for 85 yards and Christian Graney had eight for 52.
SOU amassed 427 yards of offense to the Lights’ 422. MSU-Northern quarterback Brenden Medina completed 17-of-24 passes for 264 yards, and Jett Robertson rushed 14 times for 96 yards and a