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SOU volleyball team jumps to No. 9 in NAIA Top 25

A 9-0 start boosted the Southern Oregon University volleyball team seven spots in the first NAIA Top 25 poll of the season Tuesday, giving the Raiders their highest ranking in 10 years at No. 9.

The Raiders, who will try to extend the streak this weekend at Evergreen State and Northwest (Wash.), were ranked 16th in the preseason poll. Their jump since then is second only to Dordt (Iowa), which went from No. 25 to 15th.

SOU's resume already includes wins over two ranked foes. The Raiders jumped one of those opponents, Vanguard, which went from No. 8 to 10th.

SOU started Cascade Conference play last weekend with sweeps of Corban and Northwest Christian. The only other CCC team left in the rankings is No. 8 Eastern Oregon, which went down two spots, while College of Idaho dropped from 14th to out of the poll.

The last time the Raiders got inside the top-nine was Nov. 9, 2005, when they were No. 8. That stands as their highest ranking in the last 15 years.

Football

Matt Retzlaff was named the Frontier Conference's special teams player of the week Monday for his 95-yard touchdown return of a kickoff Saturday at No. 4 Carroll.

The Southern Oregon University junior and South Medford product pulled off the sixth-longest return in Raider history in the second quarter in the second quarter of Saturday's 26-20 loss, giving top-ranked SOU a 14-7 lead. It occurred after the Saints were flagged for offsides on the initial kickoff, giving the Retzlaff and the Raiders a second chance.

Retzlaff also made four catches in the game for 53 yards, including a 39-yard connection with Kamerun Smith on the game's first play from scrimmage.

He came into the game with 25 career TDs, 21 by way of reception and four rushing.

Retzlaff wasn't the only Raider to turn in stellar special teams work Saturday. Marcus Montano, a freshman kicker, connected on field-goal attempts of 38 and 41 yards without a miss.

SOU will be at Raider Stadium for the first time this season at 1 p.m. Saturday to host 13th-ranked Eastern Oregon (0-2), which lost 41-20 Saturday at Sacramento State.