SOU soccer teams lose on PKs in tourney
SOU Sports Information
SPRINGFIELD — The Southern Oregon men’s soccer team was eliminated from the Cascade Conference tournament Wednesday night after tying Eastern Oregon, 2-2, but losing out on penalty kicks.
For the third time in four seasons and second year in a row, SOU was eliminated in penalty kicks at Les Schwab Sports Park — its only miss striking the crossbar and bouncing in front of the goal line.
Fifth-seeded EOU converted all five of its tries and got to celebrate despite squandering a 2-0 lead over the final 30 minutes of regulation.
A night after also getting past Oregon Tech in PKs, the Mountaineers (9-8-3) moved on to face regular-season champion Corban today, automatically securing the CCC’s second bid to the NAIA championships on Nov. 22-23.
The Raiders (13-5-2), unbeaten in 10 straight games, will have to wait until Monday’s selection show and cling to an outside shot at one of the at-large bids to the national postseason. The 46-team field will be announced at 10 a.m.
The result was especially devastating given the Mountaineers only put two shots on goal and had been shut out in all five previous matchups with the Raiders.
Alexander Zuluaga gave them their first goal five minutes into the game, taking an assist from Elvis Pavon, and Patrick Larsen headed in Erik Mattice’s corner kick five minutes before halftime.
SOU turned up the pressure in the second half — the Raiders finished with advantages of 22-8 in shots and 10-2 in shots on goal — and finally broke through in the 63rd minute when Luis Aguilar finished a Junior Rivas assist for his third goal of the season.
With eight minutes left in regulation, the Raiders were awarded a penalty kick as a result of a hand ball in the box and Michael Miller sliced it in for the equalizer.
After two quiet overtime sessions that produced just one shot on goal, the Mountaineers were perfect in PKs.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ADVANCES: At Springfield, a sixth consecutive shutout for Southern Oregon was spoiled in penalty kicks against Rocky Mountain (Mont.) in the semifinal round of the Cascade Conference tournament Wednesday night.
The fifth-seeded Raiders (11-5-3) and third-seeded Bears (13-3-2) settled on a scoreless draw after 110 minutes at Les Schwab Park, but SOU was denied on one of its shootout attempts and misfired on two of its three others. RMC was perfect on three tries, advancing to play in today’s final against second-seeded Eastern Oregon.
The Raiders, who were vying for their first CCC championship game appearance, will await Monday’s announcement of the 46-team NAIA championship field to learn if the season will be extended. They’ll hope a résumé that includes NAIA Top 25 triumphs — notably, wins against the Nos. 8 (Westmont) and 11 (Vanguard) teams in the current coaches’ poll — will be enough to earn an at-large bids.
The Bears remained a thorn in SOU’s side. The Raiders have won once in the teams’ last seven matchups and dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker during the regular season in Billings, letting the game-winner get through with less than a minute to play in regulation.
The Raiders had a handful of solid chances in the latest tilt, getting two shots on goal apiece from Michala Denn and Baylee Touey and another from Ruth Hegstad.
Raider keeper Jessie Selby kept the Bears off the board with eight saves for her third consecutive shutout and sixth of the season.
If this was the end, the Raiders will have gone their final 687 game minutes without allowing a goal.
For the second time in three years, though, they were eliminated on penalty kicks.
Before this week, the Raiders hadn’t played back-to-back overtime games since the 2016 regular season.