No. 23 SOU makes home debut vs. Carroll
The Southern Oregon University women’s soccer team is set to play at home while attached to an NAIA Top 25 ranking for the first time, but retaining the No. 23 spot will likely require a clean weekend against its visitors from Montana.
The Raiders to this point have not only played one of the toughest schedules in the NAIA — two against NCAA Division II schools, two more against nationally-ranked foes — but they’ve done it all on the road. In their 2019 Raider Stadium debuts, the Raiders (3-2-1 overall, 0-0-1 Cascade Conference) will host Carroll (4-2-1, 1-1-0) at 1 p.m. Friday and Providence (2-4-0, 1-1-0) at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Last Week In Review
Despite being shut out for the first time, the Raiders could consider themselves fortunate to get out of Oregon Tech with a 0-0 tie after the Owls had the edge in shots (14-11) and shots on goal (7-5) while blanking their fourth straight opponent. Sophomore goalkeeper Jessie Selby was strong again for SOU, collecting three of her saves in overtime and denying a breakaway opportunity at the end of the first extra session. The Raiders weren’t the only presumed contender to take a minor weekend hit: Defending co-champ Eastern Oregon tied at Corban, while the other defending co-champ, Carroll, lost at home to Northwest (Wash.).
NAIA Top 25
After making their Top 25 debut two weeks ago at No. 23, the Raiders moved up two spots last week and are back to 23rd in Wednesday’s latest edition of the coaches’ poll. Eastern Oregon is also in at No. 9 and Northwest (Wash.) is receiving votes. SOU’s opening-week road wins against No. 10 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 12 Vanguard (Calif.) have aged well: The teams are a combined 10-0-3 against everyone else, outscoring their opponents 34-8.
- Jessie Selby was voted the CCC’s Red Lion Defensive Player of the Week for the second time on Monday, two weeks after earning the national defensive honor. She’s turned in three straight clean sheets and made 31 consecutive saves since giving up her only goal of the season. Her goals-allowed average of 0.24 ranks seventh in the NAIA. The last time a Raider keeper logged four straight shutouts was 2016 (Kylie Moltzen).
- Freshman forward Baylee Touey leads the team with four goals and seven shots on goal. She’s already the first Raider with two multi-goal games since 2015, and was the first to notch two of them before the start of conference play since 2012.
- SOU’s other two biggest producers offensively so far were out at OIT. Senior Aislinn Waite (2 goals, 2 assists) has recorded a point in four of her four appearances with two game-winners, and freshman Madison Childers (2 goals, 1 assist) scored in three of her first four collegiate outings.
- SOU was unbeaten at home last season at 6-0-2, and since the start of 2016 is 18-2-2 at Raider Stadium.
- The Raiders hope to get their 2018 points leaders going at home. Misty Martinez, Kiani Pandoliano and Mia Volpatti combined for 18 goals and 10 assists last season; through six games, they’ve totaled one of each, though Pandoliano also had to sit due to injury at OIT.
Since joining the CCC as associate members in 2015, the Saints have won one conference championship outright and shared two more. They’re coming off of a 9-1-2 campaign in 2018 and had a four-game unbeaten streak until Sunday’s 4-2 loss at Northwest (Wash.). Makayla Welch owns seven of the team’s 17 goals, and they’re giving up 1.3 per game. The Raiders are 1-7-1 against Carroll and dropped a 1-0 decision in the 108th minute last year in Helena.
The Argos were picked to finish ninth in the CCC preseason coaches’ poll after going 5-7 last year and will be vying for their first winning record since joining the circuit in 2015. They picked up their second win on Saturday against Evergreen, 3-0, after dropping a 3-0 decision to Northwest. Eme McLaughlin already has 10 of the team’s 17 goals with three multi-goal outings; last year, she tallied 12 of her 16 in conference play. SOU is 4-1 in the all-time series but lost 2-1 on the road last year.