Raiders qualify for national tournament
The 13th-ranked Southern Oregon volleyball team earned its fifth NAIA National Championship bid and will host a 2009 NAIA National Championship Opening Round match Saturday at McNeal Pavilion.
The Raiders, who received one of eight at-large berths to the 2009 NAIA National Volleyball Championship presented by Siouxland Sports Medicine Foundation, will host Lewis-Clark State of Idaho Saturday at 6 p.m. in the opening round.
Tickets are $8 for reserved seating, $6 for general admission and $2 for students. Only NAIA passes are accepted and season tickets are not valid for the match.
The winner, along with the winners of the 11 other opening-round matches, will advance to the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa on Dec. 1-5. The top 11 seeds and host Morningside (Iowa) already received automatic byes to the finals in Iowa.
At the National Tournament, the final 24 teams will play three matches of pool play and the top 12 teams from pool play will compete for the NAIA National Championship. This is just the second year the NAIA has had opening-round matches.
Southern Oregon (24-3) shared the Cascade Conference regular season championship with eighth-ranked College of Idaho and fell to the Coyotes in the conference tournament championship match last Saturday afternoon.
College of Idaho received a bye and won't have to play an opening-round match.
Southern Oregon's three losses this year have to come to No. 1 Fresno Pacific and twice to No. 8 College of Idaho. The Raiders also own victories over No. 8 College of Idaho and No. 10 Biola.
Lewis-Clark State is ranked 21st in the final NAIA poll and earned a trip to the national tournament after winning the Frontier Conference tournament. The Warriors are 23-7 on the season and upset regular-season champion Great Falls in the conference tournament championship match
The Raiders advanced to the NAIA National Tournament four previous times — 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 — and have never made it out of pool play.
Sophomore Mitchell Lofstedt took second place to lead top-ranked Southern Oregon at Saturday's Southern Oregon Open at McNeal Pavilion.
Lofstedt, the NAIA's top-ranked 125-pounder, rolled into the championship match. Lofstedt scored a 30-second pin of Lassen's Ramon Sam Martin in the opening round and then scored a 19-3 technical fall over Southwestern Oregon's Thomas Gowing to advance to the finals.
In the championships match, Lofstedt dropped his first match of the year, falling to Oregon State unattached wrestler Jason Lara, 10-4.
Sophomore Tommie Hooper, ranked second in the NAIA, bounced back after losing in the semis at 157 to score a 17-0 tech fall victory for third place.
Also for SOU, Justin Mills took fourth place and Jimmy Eggemeyer took fifth place at 149, and Ron Lee took fourth and John Harrison took fifth at 197.