ASHLAND — With one more chance to deliver late-game dramatics at Raider Stadium, Southern Oregon freshman Kiani Pandoliano rose to the occasion Saturday night for a critical 2-1 overtime win against Oregon Tech.
Pandoliano went off the bounce in the 93rd minute and lined up a shot right-of-center from 23 yards deep, placing it just under the crossbar and over keeper Jenna Stiehr’s outstretched arms for a golden goal that kept the Raiders (9-2-3, 7-1-2 Cascade Conference) in the CCC title hunt.
With one week left in the regular season, they passed up the Owls (10-3-2, 7-2-1) by one point in the standings and moved into a tie with second-place Carroll. Eastern Oregon (12-1-2, 8-1-2) has a three-point lead in first place but just one game to go. The Raiders will wrap up at Providence (Mont.) and Carroll next Friday and Sunday.
OIT was riding a six-game winning streak and appeared in control after Haley Janky assisted Cassidy Gosvener’s sixth goal of the season in the 30th minute.
After getting out-shot 5-2 in the first half, the Raiders became the aggressors. In the 55th minute, Misty Martinez set up Mia Volpatti for a 20-yard strike that she directed into the upper-left corner for an equalizer.
Volpatti’s goal was her fifth of the season. Pandoliano, who also scored a pair in SOU’s last outing, a 5-0 win over Evergreen, is up to six goals and three game-winners.
The Owls didn’t put a shot on goal over the final 43 minutes. SOU had another good chance a minute into the extra session when Macaylea Mitchell centered a pass just in front of the Stiehr, but the ball jumped off Simone Schroder’s foot and over the post.
Clutch goals became a theme as the Raiders finished their home schedule at 6-0-2. In their 1-0 win over Corban on Sept. 30, Martinez scored the lone goal in the 80th minute. And in a 1-1 tie against Northwest (Wash.) on Oct. 12, Martinez stuck the equalizer in the 89th.
SOU’s seven-game unbeaten streak is tied for the longest in team history.
CHEMEKETA COMMUNITY COLLEGE 2, ROGUE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 0: At Salem, the Ospreys were eliminated from playoff contention after coming up short on the road.
RCC fell to 5-8-1 overall, 4-6-1 in the Northwest Athletic Conference. CCC improved to 3-12-1, 2-8-1 in the NWAC.
SOUTHERN OREGON 2, OREGON TECH 0: At Ashland, the Raiders continued to make it look easy in a win against Oregon Tech at Raider Stadium. With two games left, SOU’s Cascade Conference title defense is almost complete.
After getting some help Friday from Eastern Oregon, which upset No. 10 Corban, the No. 19 Raiders helped themselves in the final home game of the regular season with their 10th shutout victory. In extending their unbeaten streak to 14 games, they were in control from the start: Less than five minutes into the game, Mitchell Pinney marked his Senior Night with his fifth goal of the season, a volley from 13 yards out that was assisted by Zac Hansen.
Insurance was added in the 42nd minute on one of their prettiest goals yet. Esteban Castaneda lined a pass just right of the post, which Kelly Gieber saved from going out of bounds by heading it back to Noah Addie, who sent a second header into the net for his team-leading 10th goal.
The Raiders will take a 13-2-1 overall record and 10-0-1 mark in the CCC to Montana next weekend, concluding the regular season at Providence and Carroll. With three points, they’d clinch a share of their second straight conference title. With four, they’d clinch the title outright and secure a spot in the NAIA Tournament.
Second-place Corban stands at 8-1-1 in the CCC with three games left. Oregon Tech went to 6-7-2 and 5-5-1, tied for seventh place.
SOUTHWESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE 1, ROGUE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 0: SWOCC striker Joe Montero scored on a penalty kick in the ninth minute to improve to 9-1-1 overall, 7-1-1 in the Northwest Athletic Conference.
The Ospreys (0-10-1, 0-9-0) were led by goalkeeper Joel Witts, who had 11 saves.
SOUTHERN OREGON 3, WARNER PACIFIC 1: At Portland, Southern Oregon’s well-rounded attack was unstoppable for the second night in a row and the 10th-ranked Raiders shook off a slow start to top Warner Pacific 24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 at C.C. Perry Gym, completing a perfect Cascade Conference weekend road trip.
Taylor Ristvedt stuck 17 kills with just two errors, Dani Johnson tallied 13 kills and 13 digs and Makayla Hoyt had 11 kills and one error to lift SOU (21-2, 14-2 CCC) to a .398 team attacking average – its best in conference play against any team outside of last-place Walla Walla.
On the other side, the Knights (7-15, 6-11) committed 12 more attacking errors (25) and were doomed by 13 service miscues, the most for a Raider opponent this year in a three- or four-set match.
The Raiders also had a 9-5 advantage in blocks. Hoyt assisted six and had one to herself, while Ristvedt was in on four.