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SOU men fall in PKs to OIT at CCC tourney

SPRINGFIELD — An excruciating wait will bridge the gap between Wednesday night and Monday’s NAIA national tournament selection show after Southern Oregon was eliminated in the Cascade Conference Tournament semifinals by 19th-ranked Oregon Tech in penalty kicks at Les Schwab Park.

The draw was excruciating enough for the Raiders. The 2-0 lead they built in the opening stanza was halved in the 68th minute on Jake Mitchell’s penalty kick and leveled with 30 seconds left in regulation when he struck again on a long cross.

After the scored stayed 2-2 through two overtime sessions, keeper Joel Witts stopped the Raiders’ first attempt of the shootout and the Owls held on, 5-4.

The Owls (16-1-2) — whose only loss was at SOU (15-3-1) in the regular season — will play Warner Pacific, the team with which they shared the regular season title, in the final of the CCC Championships presented by U.S. Bank on Friday. The Knights also advanced in penalty kicks against Corban.

WPU received the CCC’s first automatic national tournament bid by earning the tournament’s No. 1 seed. OIT clinched the second bid by getting to the tournament championship game.

The Raiders now need an at-large bid to make the 40-team national playoff field. Their chances of getting one are highly, but not exclusively, dependent on the final Modified RPI rankings that will be finalized late Friday. They were No. 38 in the last RPI that came out on Oct. 20 and have gone 4-1-1 since then, taking their only loss at Warner Pacific.

Thanks to senior midfielder Renee Resendez and junior forward Noah Addie, they were in strong position to pull off an upset of the Owls.

In the 27th minute Addie drew a foul just left of the box, where Resendez then came on to curl a free kick just inside the left post. In the 41st Resendez crossed another near-perfect free kick in Addie’s direction, and Addie headed it home for a two-goal advantage.

The Raiders held on until late. The chaos steadily built amid a downpour, 10 total yellow cards, and a red card issued to the OIT bench. It reached a crescendo with Mitchell’s equalizer.

SOU keeper Anthony Armenta impressed considering the conditions, finishing with four saves. Witts had to make two saves in overtime, foiling attempts by all-conference SOU forward Alan Gaytan to deposit a golden goal.

In the shootout, Junior Rivas, Zak Woolley, Resendez and Joao de Santos converted for SOU. Mitchell, Gavin Wilmott, Anthony Santillan, Reilly Combs and Andrew Pasang made the Owls perfect.


BOTH SOU TEAMS GET AT-LARGE BIDS: As expected, Southern Oregon’s men’s and women’s cross country teams both received at-large bids to the NAIA Championships and will advance to Vancouver, Wash., for the national meet on Friday, Nov. 19.

The races will take place at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Championships Course and include 36 teams each. The Cascade Conference — which, as the meet host, gets an extra host bid for each race — will be represented by seven teams in the men’s race and five in the women’s.

The Raider women’s team earned its bid by taking second at last week’s CCC Championships to champion College of Idaho. SOU stayed at No. 13 in this week’s NAIA Top 25 coaches’ poll, which determined at-large allocations.

The Raider men’s team dipped nine spots to No. 17 in this week’s NAIA Top 25, but that was also comfortably within at-large range. They’ll be motivated by a fourth-place finish at the CCC Championships where the NAIA’s most loaded conference field convened.

Excluding last spring when the Raiders opted out of the modified cross country season, this marks the seventh straight season that the SOU men’s and women’s teams will both appear at the national meet.


RCC 3, SWOC 1: At Coos Bay, Rogue Community College closed out the regular season with a 25-12, 18-25, 25-18, 25-23 win over Southwestern Oregon Community College.

RCC (20-8, 11-5 NWAC) will open regional playoffs on Saturday at Bellvue College in Washington.