LA GRANDE — Senior forward Mitchell Pinney was the epitome of instant offense in Southern Oregon’s 2-0 men’s soccer victory over Eastern Oregon on a windy Friday at Community Stadium.
Pinney didn’t check in until halftime of a scoreless affair, but 27 seconds into his shift he got control of a free ball in the box and darted it past Mountaineers keeper Aidan Wright for his second game-winner of the year and the sixth of his career.
In the 71st minute, freshman Izaiha Bruce set him up with a short pass from the right side of the field to the top of the box. It drew out Wright from his post, and Pinney beat him to the ball to put his second goal into an open net.
When Pinney checked out four minutes later, his job was done, and the Raiders (6-2 overall, 3-0 Cascade Conference) had all but wrapped up their sixth consecutive win. Through three circuit contests, only they and Corban have accumulated nine points.
The Mountaineers (4-2-1, 2-1) were the other team with a perfect CCC record when the day started.
They were blanked for the first time this season, but the clean sheet was SOU’s fifth in a row. Going back to last year, the Raiders have pitched four straight CCC road shutouts.
Keeper Wyatt Zabinski secured the latest – and the 15th solo of his two-year Raider career – with five saves.
Wright collected four of his six saves in the first half for the Mountaineers. He stopped three shots on goal by Junior Rivas and was bailed out by the crossbar on an Ahmon Afenegus free kick in the second half.
Pinney’s goals gave him three on the season and 13 in his career. The assist was Bruce’s first.
EASTERN OREGON 2, SOUTHERN OREGON 0: At La Grande, its Cascade Conference title defense off to a shaky start, the Eastern Oregon women’s soccer team got a much-needed win and victimized Southern Oregon’s five-match unbeaten streak in the process at Community Stadium.
The Mountaineers (5-1-1 overall, 1-1-1 CCC) took the victory with a pair of second-half goals, capitalizing on a 25-13 shots advantage. Taylor Boyer and MacKinley Gregus were the responsible parties in helping EOU rebound from a one-point opening weekend in conference play.
The Raiders, who were the lone CCC team to receive votes in this week’s NAIA Top 25 poll after EOU dropped out, dropped to 4-2-1 overall and 2-1 in the circuit. It was the first time they’d given up multiple goals in 12 games dating back to last season.
NORTHWEST 3, SOUTHERN OREGON 2: At Kirkland, Wash., Northwest put the first dent in No. 9-ranked Southern Oregon’s record Friday night with a 13-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 15-12 upset in front of a charged-up crowd at Kristi Bodin Pavilion.
The Raiders (14-1 overall, 7-1 Cascade Conference) couldn’t slow down the Eagles (7-9, 3-4) in the final two sets. After holding them to a .231 attacking average through the first three, Northwest hit .417 the rest of the way and recorded 10 kills with only one error in the tiebreaker.
SOU’s streak will enter the books as the third-best start in team history, three wins short of tying the all-time program mark for consecutive wins to start a season.
It wasn’t the first time the Raiders have played with fire: Three of their four CCC road matches have gone to five sets. They’ve dropped their last four matches at NU.
Sarah Warner’s 15 kills and 10 digs led the Eagles. She and Keann White, who added 10 kills, both hit at a .400 clip with the help of setter Courteney Carr, who racked up 42 assists.
The loss spoiled another outstanding night for SOU right-side hitter Taylor Ristvedt, who went for 19 kills on 28 attacks with two errors. Makayla Hoyt had 11 kills and six blocks, Dani Johnson chipped in 11 more kills, and Emma Ryan had 20 digs.
Men’s Cross Country
CCC PREVIEW: At Issaquah, Wash., all five Southern Oregon scorers were among the top-11 finishers Friday morning at Lake Sammamish State Park, and the No. 2-ranked Raiders beat out Northwest Christian for a team win at the Cascade Conference Preview Meet in their first outing of the season.
Runner-up Ryan Alexander, a senior, led with way with a time of 25 minutes 58.7 seconds on the 8,000-meter course, and freshman Deklan Humble got off to an impressive start with a third-place finish in 26:00.7. SOU amassed 34 points to NCU’s 43, well ahead of Northwest (70) and Walla Walla (88).
Eighth-place Alex Harbert-Castro (26:27.3), 10th-place Gabe Loader (26:36.4) and 11th-place Isaac Fernandez (26:48.8) rounded out the scoring. Each of them came in ahead of NCU’s fourth scorer.
Northwest Christian sophomore Jacob Truitt was the individual medalist, cruising in 18 seconds ahead of Alexander.
The Raiders were without their No. 1 runner, senior All-American Noah Oberriter.
Women’s Cross Country
CCC PREVIEW: At Issaquah, Wash., senior Kayle Blackmore had an encouraging return in a third-place overall finish Friday morning at the Cascade Conference Preview Meet, helping the No. 12 Southern Oregon women to second in the team standings.
Blackmore, an NAIA All-American in 2016, missed the second half of last fall and most of the spring due to injury. In her first race back, she ran the 5,000-meter course at Lake Sammamish State Park in 18 minutes 46.9 seconds.
SOU, which was without a couple core runners, finished with 41 points, behind Northwest Christian’s total of 32. Corban totaled 53 and Northwest (Wash.) 99.
The Raiders put four finishers ahead of NCU’s fourth — sixth-place Jenna Storms (19:11.1), eighth-place Lauren Fillipow (19:27.7) and ninth-place Bree Weber (19:27.0) in addition to Blackmore.