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Raiders grapplers ranked No. 1 in NAIA poll

The 2009-10 wrestling season has started off on the right foot for the Southern Oregon wrestling team, with a No. 1 ranking in the NAIA preseason top 20 poll.

The Raiders received 100.5 points, followed by Notre Dame College (Ohio), McKendree, Great Falls and Grand View. Lindenwood, last year's NAIA National Champion, is ranked sixth.

Southern Oregon finished second at the NAIA National Championships and won the NAIA Dual National Championship.

The Raiders open up the 2009-10 season on Nov. 4 when they host the annual Red and Black Intrasquad meet.

Southern Oregon has seven wrestlers nationally ranked. Defending national champion Chris Platt (184 pounds), Mitchell Lofstedt (125) and John Bates (heavyweight) all were ranked at the top of their respective weight classes.

Barry Johnson is ranked second at 141 and Tommie Hooper is ranked second at 157. Also ranked for the Raiders are newcomers Ronald Lee (7th, 197) and Kris Spencer (10th, 165).

Cross Country

The Southern Oregon cross country teams will get their final tune-up for the Cascade Conference championships Saturday when they take part in the Oregon State Beaver Classic in Corvallis.

The meet will feature most of the Cascade Conference schools, as well as most of the Pac 10 "B" squads.

Southern Oregon looks to be getting closer to full strength on both the men's and women's side after illness ran through the squads the last couple weeks.

The SOU men remained at No. 2 for the third straight week in this week's edition of the NAIA Top 25 poll. The Raiders are undefeated on the 2009 season, including an impressive team victory at last week's Puma/Concordia Invitational.

The Raider women hope being at full strength for the first time since the first week of the season will give them a better picture of where they fit in at the Cascade Conference championships.

The conference championships are set for Nov. 7 at Dorris Ranch in Springfield.

Women's Soccer

The Southern Oregon women's soccer team will play for the right to play in the Cascade Conference postseason tournament this weekend.

The Raiders (6-8-1 overall, 4-3 Cascade Conference) wrap up Cascade Conference play with matches at Corban (9-5-2, 6-1) Friday and Northwest Christian (3-12, 2-5) Saturday night.

Southern Oregon sits tied with Oregon Tech and Eastern Oregon for the fourth and final playoff spot with 4-3 Cascade Conference records.

"All in all, this is where you want to be on the last weekend — with a chance to get yourself into the conference tournament," SOU head coach Jon Clement said. "We need this to be the minimum standard here. Now it's a case of taking it to the next level and coming up with it this weekend. We're very capable and I know everyone is looking forward to the challenge."

Corban has reeled off six straight victories after dropping a 5-0 decision to fourth-ranked Concordia to open up conference play.

"Corban is difficult to play on their field, they're pretty pointed and direct," Clement said. "They are very athletic and have an absolute engine in the middle of the park. We'll have to play fast but within ourselves, be opportunistic in and around the box and take control of the set pieces."

Northwest Christian has conference victories over Warner Pacific and Evergreen State.

After a pair of goals last weekend, SOU's Denise Powell ranks fifth in the Cascade Conference with six.

Women's Volleyball

The Southern Oregon volleyball team puts a couple streaks on the line this week as they host Oregon Tech Friday night at McNeal Pavilion.

The match between the arch-rivals starts at 7 p.m.

Southern Oregon (18-2 overall and 12-1 Cascade Conference) remained at No. 12 in this week's NAIA Top 25 poll. The Raiders are also still tied on top of the Cascade Conference standings with College of Idaho with three weeks remaining in the conference schedule.

The Raiders have now won nine straight matches since losing at College of Idaho early in the conference season.

Friday night's matchup will be the third of the season between the Raiders and Owls. SOU has won the previous two matchups in three sets each. Southern Oregon has won 12 straight matches against the Owls and 20 of the last 21.

Oregon Tech (4-17, 3-10) has dropped five straight matches, even though they gave Concordia all they could handle before falling in five sets last Saturday night.

Megan Christensen leads the Owls with 238 kills and a 3.17 kill per set average.

Southern Oregon's middle blocker duo of Heather Porter and Megan Bartling continue to lead the Cascade Conference in attack percentage and blocks.

Porter leads the loop in attack percentage at .351 and Bartling ranks first in blocks with 95 total blocks and Porter ranks third with 81.