SOU soccer teams miss out on NAIA tourney fields
ASHLAND — The NAIA Soccer National Tournament bracket reveal shows came and went Monday morning without mention of Southern Oregon University, signaling the end of the Raiders’ seasons.
Both SOU teams were fringe candidates for at-large bids in the 40-team fields after being eliminated in the semifinal rounds of the Cascade Conference Tournament last week.
With a 12-5-2 record, the Raider women’s soccer team received votes in the final NAIA Top 25 coaches’ poll and, most encouragingly, was No. 31 in the final Modified RPI rankings. That metric didn’t weigh as heavily in the NAIA Championship Selection Committee’s calculations as SOU needed, though. Among the 12 teams that received at-large bids were the Nos. 42 and 48 teams on the RPI scale.
The only Cascade Conference teams going to the tournament will be the two that earned automatic bids, College of Idaho and Oregon Tech. SOU went 10-2 in the CCC regular season to finish second in the standings.
The SOU men’s soccer team’s season is over after a 15-3-1 campaign. The Raiders were the only team to defeat Oregon Tech in the regular season and were eliminated from the CCC Tournament by the Owls in penalty kicks. Advancement would have given them an automatic national tourney bid.
OIT and regular season co-champion Warner Pacific claimed the auto bids and are the CCC’s only representatives in the men’s field. SOU was No. 41 in the final RPI.
TALAVERA BROTHERS MAKE FINALS: At Forest Grove, brothers JJ Talavera and Noah Talavera logged second-place finishes to head Southern Oregon’s efforts Sunday at Pacific’s Mike Clock Open.
The Raiders produced nine place-winners in all. Aaron Gandara (149 pounds) and John White (197) placed third, Pancho Barrera (125) was fourth, and Max Miller (165) and Antonio Garcia (197) were sixth.
JJ Talavera advanced to the 149-pound final with four consecutive wins before losing by decision to Clackamas C.C.’s Victor Jacinto by 4-0 decision for the title. He opened with a 10-1 major decision over Clackamas C.C.’s Joseph Orlando, pinned University of Oregon’s Fernando Soto-Cruz in 1:10, and defeated Simon Fraser’s Jacob Alexander-Torres (6-4) and North Idaho C.C.’s Ben Mitchell (5-3) by decision in the quarterfinals and semis.
Noah Talavera went 3-1 in the 174-pound bracket. He first earned back-to-back major decisions, 11-0 over Pacific’s Sammuel Cortez and 14-6 over Big Bend C.C.’s Taten Ringel, then defeated unattached wrestler Justin Rademacher 6-3 in the semifinals. He went down by fall against Beaver Dam RTC’s John Morrison in the first round of the final.
RAIDERS CONTINUE STRONG START: At Forest Grove, Carolina Johnson captured the 116-pound title and four other Southern Oregon wrestlers made their way to bracket finals at Pacific’s Mike Clock Open.
Johnson, a junior ranked No. 4 in the NAIA, won the 116 championship by forfeit against her teammate, Tara Othman. Othman, Carolina Moreno (123 pounds), Sophie Keefer (130) and Sienna Ramirez (155) were all second-place finishers.
Six more Raiders placed third: Karly Scott (101), Emma Baertlein (109), Jordynn Robson (130), Emily Se (136), Ramona Jimenez (143) and Karrah Smith (191).
Othman went unbeaten in her four contests with a pin and three technical falls, while Johnson went 3-0 before the forfeit with technical falls in the quarterfinals and semis that were preceded by a decision.