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RAIDER ROUNDUP: SOU men lead preseason poll

ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon University men’s soccer team has made a habit of working itself into Cascade Conference championship contention, and after the release of the CCC preseason coaches poll, the 2022 Raiders aren’t expected to be any different.

SOU and Warner Pacific will enter the season as co-favorites to win the circuit, but they’re far from alone in holding realistic title aspirations. Six different teams received at least one first-place vote, and the top-four teams in the poll were separated by five voter points.

WPU shared its first-ever CCC championship last year with Oregon Tech, turning in matching 11-1-1 records, while the Raiders finished third at 10-3. Oregon Tech — now led by Raider alum Sean McManamon, who was an assistant on SOU’s staff for the previous four seasons — was fourth in the poll despite collecting four first-place votes, falling one point beneath Corban.

SOU debuted as a varsity program in 2015 and has finished no lower than third place each of the last five full seasons. Under Davie Carmichael, who is entering his fifth season as the Raiders’ head coach, they’ve posted a 34-6-3 CCC record and outscored conference opponents by a combined total of 109-28. They went 15-3-1 overall in 2021 and were eliminated in penalty kicks in the CCC Tournament semifinal round, falling just short of a national tournament bid.

Twenty-three players, including six starters, are back as they bid for their first title since 2018. Alan Gaytan, their top scorer with 10 goals and two assists, will be striking again after earning All-Cascade Conference first-team and NAIA All-America honorable mention accolades as a junior. Zak Woolley, aiming to become a four-time member of the All-CCC team, anchors the defense. Carmichael supplemented the roster with a 10-person recruiting class.

PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Team (1st-place votes)Points

T1. Warner Pacific (4)171

T1. Southern Oregon (2)171

3. Corban (2)167

4. Oregon Tech (4)166

5. Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (1)139

6. College of Idaho (1)128

7. Eastern Oregon103

8. Northwest (Wash.)102

9. Carroll (Mont.)91

10. Evergreen (Wash.)80

11. Providence (Mont.)66

12. Bushnell34

13. Multnomah32

14. Walla Walla (Wash.)20

Women’s Soccer

SOU PICKED THIRD: Coming off one of the most successful regular seasons in team history, the Southern Oregon University women’s soccer team won’t be sneaking up on anyone this fall after the Raiders were picked third in the Cascade Conference preseason coaches poll.

Oregon Tech, which won the 2021 championship and advanced to the NAIA semifinal round, was No. 1 with five returning starters, and College of Idaho was No. 2 on the heels of a national tournament appearance.

SOU was picked to finish seventh in last year’s preseason poll before proceeding to steal second place in the standings with a 10-2 CCC mark. The Raiders return six starters and 17 players overall.

They’ll feature an All-CCC goalkeeper in senior Jessie Selby, who last year registered the top save percentage in team history. Their go-to playmakers, All-CCC team members Sarah Mauk (5 goals, 2 assists) and Baylee Touey (3 goals, 5 assists), are also back. Malaika Quigley (3 goals, 5 assists) will patrol the midfield after receiving honorable mention as a sophomore.

Entering her 10th season as SOU’s head coach, Jenni Rosenberg’s teams have gone 61-29-7 in conference play. Last year, they outscored CCC opponents 25-5 and posted five consecutive shutout victories to end the regular season.

PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Team (1st-place votes)Points

1. Oregon Tech (9)162

2. College of Idaho (1)145

3. Southern Oregon136

4. Eastern Oregon (3)132

5. Northwest (Wash.)121

6. Corban106

7. Rocky Mountain (Mont.)100

8. Carroll (Mont.)82

9. Evergreen (Wash.)55

10. Warner Pacific54

11. Providence (Mont.)51

12. Bushnell31

13. Multnomah17

Volleyball

RAIDERS LAND EIGHTH: The top of the Cascade Conference will be as imposing as ever when the Southern Oregon University volleyball team attempts to make a jump back into the mix this fall.

Defending regular-season and tournament champion Corban was the unanimous favorite to win another title in the CCC coaches preseason poll. Eastern Oregon and Oregon Tech, which joined the Warriors in 2021’s final NAIA Top 25 poll, were picked to finish second and third.

The Raiders were eighth in the poll, based largely on their 9-13 showing in conference play last year. After winning back-to-back CCC titles in 2018 and ‘19, inexperience was glaring in their return to the court as they worked to fill the voids left by every starter from those championship teams and regularly depended on six individuals seeing collegiate competition for the first time.

A seven-match September losing streak sunk them early, and five tiebreaker-set CCC losses kept their record from recovering. They finished 14-13 overall and were ninth in the standings.

The Raiders are set up for a bounce-back season, though, with a group of 15 returning players that includes outside hitter Hailey Van Well, the 2021 CCC and NAIA Northwest Region Freshman of the Year. They have six starters back in all and added an impact player in Brazilian outside hitter Mylena Testoni, who was a two-time NJCAA first-team All-American at Barton C.C. (Kan.).

Corban went 30-3 overall and 20-2 in CCC play last year, though SOU pushed the Warriors to five sets in Salem. They’ll feature both the reigning CCC Player of the Year, outside hitter Avari Ridgway, and the reigning CCC Libero of the Year, Kealani Ontai.

PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Team (1st-place votes)Points

1. Corban (12)144

2. Eastern Oregon127

3. Oregon Tech121

4. Bushnell102

5. Northwest (Wash.)85

6. College of Idaho77

7. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)76

8. Southern Oregon68

9. Evergreen (Wash.)63

10. Multnomah32

11. Warner Pacific28

12. Walla Walla (Wash.)13