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SOU eighth in CCC preseason coaches' poll

Defending Cascade Conference champion Rocky Mountain is favored to repeat while second-year program Southern Oregon is ranked eight in the 14-team conference, according to the CCC men's soccer preseason coaches' poll, released Tuesday.

Rocky Mountain (Montana), which finished 17-3-4 last season, including 11-1-1 in the CCC, received eight first-place votes and 186 points overall to top the poll.

Corban, the 2015 runner-up at 11-2 in the CCC, received four first-place votes and 181 points to come in second. 

Great Falls (Montana) was third in the poll despite not receiving a first-place vote, while fourth-ranked Carroll (Montana) and fifth-ranked Evergreen (Washington) received one first-place vote apiece.

Southern Oregon, which finished 10-8 overall and 5-8 in league play in its inaugural season, received 106 points to land just behind seventh-ranked College of Idaho (108) and ahead of ninth-ranked Eastern Oregon (101), another program entering its second season.

SOU head coach Biniam Afenegus announced two weeks ago that 16 newcomers, including five in-state players and the program's first international student-athlete, will join the Raiders this season. 

The Raiders also return second-team 2015 all-CCC all-star Brendon Allen, a sophomore forward, as well as CCC honorable mention midfielders Ahmon Afenegus and Diego Buenrostro, both sophomores.

Allen led the Raiders in scoring last season with eight goals and two assists and was tied for first in the conference with four game-winning goals in league play. Afenegus had four goals and a team-high five assists, and Buenrostro added six goals, four in league play.

Overall, freshmen scored 31 of SOU's 38 goals and dished out 20 of its 27 assists last season.

The Raiders open their 2016 season Aug. 23 at Humboldt State.