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Raider men look to continue late-season surge

As has become customary in October, the Southern Oregon men’s soccer team is hot at the right time as it prepares to hit the Raider Stadium turf for its last Cascade Conference homestand.

Riding a four-game unbeaten streak, the third-place Raiders (8-5-1 overall, 6-2-1 CCC) will host fourth-place Warner Pacific (8-4-1, 5-3-1) at 3:30 p.m. Friday and winless Multnomah (0-14, 0-7) at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. With two wins, they’d clinch a spot in the eight-team CCC Tournament for the fourth year in a row heading into the final weekend.

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW: SOU put an end to 19th-ranked Corban’s nine-game winning streak last Friday, earning an impressive road point in a 2-2 draw. The Raiders trailed 1-0 until Yan Pessoa de Oliveira scored an equalizer in the 73rd minute and Alan Gaytan gave them the lead three minutes later, though Kohl Hurtado tied it again for the Warriors in the 83rd. On Saturday at Northwest Christian, they broke a halftime tie with four unanswered goals in the second half of a 5-1 win, getting one goal and one assist from both Kelly Gieber and Adrian Villegas, and two assists from Sam Walker.

AROUND THE CCC: Corban still leads the pack at 9-0-1 in CCC play, but has a slim lead over Rocky Mountain (8-1) with a matchup between the teams on the final day of the regular season looming. SOU’s playoff position likely won’t be settled until the final day of the regular season: It’ll finish in Washington against two more playoff hopefuls, Evergreen (5-4) and Northwest (4-4-1). The regular-season champion will get an automatic bid to the NAIA Opening Round, and the tournament champion (or the other finalist if the regular-season champion repeats) will get the CCC’s second bid.

Briefly

  • Freshman Adrian Villegas established a new SOU single-season points record (25) last week while bringing his totals to nine goals and seven assists. He’s one away from matching the Raider goals record, which is held by Noah Addie (2018) and current assistant Carlos Magana (2016). He ranks seventh among all CCC players with 16 points in conference games and third in assists with six.
  • Eight different Raiders have accounted for their eight game-winning goals.
  • Alan Gaytan has scored all six of his goals over SOU’s last six games. He ranks seventh on the CCC leaderboard.
  • Kelly Gieber picked up his fifth assist of the season and 18th in four years over the weekend, padding his SOU career record total. Following SOU’s most recent homestand, he was voted the CCC Defensive Player of the Week.
  • Keeper Wyatt Zabinski ranks 28th in the NAIA with a 0.96 goals-against average. The shutout at NCU was the 27th solo of his career.
  • SOU is unbeaten in its last 17 CCC home contests, turning in clean sheets in 15 of those games.
  • The Raiders will recognize 13 seniors prior to Sunday’s game, seven of whom have been around for four years. During that time, they’ve gone a combined 37-5-6 in CCC games.

ABOUT WARNER PACIFIC: The Raiders have won their last three matchups against the Knights with an aggregate score of 6-0. But WPU is on track for its first winning CCC record since 2015 and is unbeaten in five of its last six outings, all played at home. Arturo Bahena has scored each of his team-high eight goals in conference play - including two in their most recent win, 3-2 in overtime against Providence - and Franklin Cordon has added five goals and five assists.

ABOUT MULTNOMAH: The Lions, in their fifth season of NAIA competition, have been outscored 46-5 in conference games. In four matchups with SOU, they’ve been outscored a combined 15-1. Jose De La Torres leads the attack with two goals and one assist.

Southern Oregon University freshman midfielder Alan Gaytan ranks second on the team in goals with six so far this season. (PHOTO BY: AL CASE / ASHLAND DAILY PHOTO)