Playoff matchups set for SOU football, volleyball teams
The state of Kansas has been good to the Southern Oregon University football team in recent postseason history, and now the Raiders get to pay it a visit for the first time in program history.
Baldwin City, population 4,540, will be the site of next Saturday's NAIA Championship Series quarterfinal game between the seventh-ranked Raiders (9-2) and No. 2 Baker University (11-1). Kickoff is scheduled for noon CST at Liston Stadium, where the Wildcats defeated No. 17 Point (Ga.) by a score of 68-21 in the first round.
All eight hosts won in the first round for the second year in a row. SOU dominated No. 10 Kansas Wesleyan, 52-8, with 691 yards of total offense and a defense that didn't allow the Coyotes to score through the first 54 minutes.
The Raiders will be making their sixth quarterfinal appearance and their third in the last four years.
Baker has also been in the quarterfinals five times before, most recently in 2013. Before that appearance, the Wildcats hadn't advanced since the NAIA went to one division in 1997, losing first-round games in 2008 and '12.
They represent the Heart of America Athletic Conference's South division, which they won with a record of 5-0 to earn an automatic playoff berth. SOU's opponent in the 2014 first round, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), was also from the HAAC South. SOU won that game, 44-26, in Ashland.
The Wildcats will come in with the NAIA's seventh-best scoring offense (41.3 points) and the seventh-best scoring defense (17). Their only loss this year was 35-31 at No. 21 Benedictine (Kan.), and they've defeated three teams in the current NAIA top-25 poll: No. 3 Grand View (Iowa) (20-15), No. 23 William Penn (Iowa) (48-13), and Point.
SOU and Baker's only previous meeting was a nonleague affair on Oct. 29, 2005 at Raider Stadium. The Raiders won, 44-29, and it was their only win in a 1-9 season.
The 24 teams left in the NAIA Volleyball Championships were sorted Sunday into the pools by the national office, and 19th-ranked Southern Oregon University has some history with the top team in its group.
The Raiders (25-4 overall), who advanced with Saturday's four-set opening-round win over La Sierra (Calif.), are in with No. 6 Vanguard (Calif.) (22-5) of the Golden State Athletic Conference, No. 7 Midland (Neb.) (29-3) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference, and No. 22 Coastal Georgia (31-3) of the Southern States Athletic Conference.
SOU will match up with all three teams Dec. 1-3 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. A schedule has yet to be released.
The Raiders are making their eighth appearance at the final site and their third since 2010.
The top-two teams from each group will move on to bracket play Dec. 4-5. SOU has never made it out of pool play, but was a win away last year when its season was ended in four sets by Vanguard. The Lions and Raiders also met in pool play in 2011 and the Raiders won in four sets. They played on Aug. 20 this season, too, at the Biola Invitational and SOU pulled off a four-set upset.
SOU's only previous matchup with Midland was during the 2005 preseason and a Raider sweep. The Warriors, making their third appearance in the tournament, peaked this season with a No. 2 ranking.
Coastal Georgia is making its second appearance in the NAIA Championships and has never played SOU.