SPRINGFIELD — Southern Oregon will get the chance to defend its Cascade Conference title after an emphatic 4-0 semifinal win against Carroll on Thursday night at the Willamalane Sports Complex.
The top-seeded and 14th-ranked Raiders’ 18th consecutive game without a loss turned into a blowout in the second half, where they scored three goals to send the No. 7-seeded Saints limping home and set up Saturday’s championship match against No. 3-seeded Rocky Mountain (Mont.).
Rocky clinched the CCC’s second automatic berth in the NAIA National Tournament with a 1-0 semifinal defeat of Eastern Oregon. The Bears (16-4) will ride a five-game winning streak into the title match, looking to avenge a 2-0 loss at SOU on Sept. 14.
Sophomore Renee Resendez starred against the Saints (8-8-1) with his first two goals of the season and first career multi-goal outing, helping the Raiders improve to 16-2-2 overall.
Eleven days after the Raiders clinched the regular-season championship with a 3-1 win on Carroll’s home field, they went ahead on Resendez’s header that was set up by a Paul Matyas cross in the 39th minute. Brendan Allen doubled the advantage eight minutes into the second half with his sixth goal of the season, getting assists from Yan Pessoa de Oliveira and Zac Hansen.
In the 76th and 78th minutes, the Raiders were sparked by a less likely source: Alejandro Velazquez, a junior who had yet to break into the scoring column this season. First he tallied a goal, heading in Luis Aguilar’s corner kick, and then he registered his first assist, sending a pass to Resendez that he finished to the right side.
Just as they did in a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Oregon Tech, the Raiders conceded only one shot on goal. It was saved by Wyatt Zabinksi, ensuring their 14th shutout and seventh in their last eight games.
SOU won last year’s title game against Corban, which was upset by Carroll in the quarterfinals. Rocky captured its only tournament championship in 2015, its first season in the CCC.
MENLO 27, SOU 15: At Ashland, Southern Oregon finished strong in the loss to sixth-ranked Menlo (Calif.), getting heavyweight Max Hane’s pin to end the night at Riehm Arena.
In the season-opener for both teams, the Oaks won six of 10 matches and scored bonus points in four of them. They started with 14 unanswered as Riley Siason (125 pounds) defeated Christian Rendon by technical fall, 12th-ranked Blaysen Terukina (133) pinned 18th-ranked Devin Poppen with 38 seconds left in the third round and Sebastian Marin (141) topped Justin Acuff, 3-2, on a riding time point.
Before Hane, third-ranked 149-pounder Chandler Michael got the Raiders on the board by handily defeating Devin Everk, 13-6, and JJ Talavera (157) scored a takedown with seven seconds left for a 5-4 decision over Alex Garcia. Tanner Fischer, ranked seventh at 197, blanked No. 15 Bruce Valdez in a 4-0 win.
Young Woo An (174) and Anthony Orozco (184) scored Menlo’s other bonus points — Woo An with a first-round pin of Cody Stahl and Orozco with a 12-2 major decision over C.J. McKinnis.
Hane’s pin of Jeremiah Holbrook occurred 6:07 into their match.
MENLO 40, SOU 4: At Ashland, fourth-ranked Menlo (Calif.) won nine matches in the romp.
The Oaks (1-0) won twice by fall, six times by technical fall and accepted one forfeit victory to drop the Raiders to 1-1.
SOU got a decision from 130-pounder Anesia Ramirez, who won 8-4 against Jenessa Ramirez.
Tristyn Borden (191) got on the board in her technical-fall loss to account for the Raiders’ other point.
CCC HONORS: Southern Oregon produced four all-Cascade Conference selections, led by first-teamer Daisy Cervantes.
Along with Cervantes, SOU’s goal-prevention core was prevalent with goalkeeper Kailey Lemon and defenders Trinity Rhoades and Maddy Spangler landing on the second team. Makena Totushek, a midfielder, garnered honorable mention.
Cervantes, a senior, was a first-team selection for the second year in a row. All of the other Raiders earned accolades for the first time, though Spangler and Totushek, both seniors, received honorable mention in 2017.
The Raiders’ defense allowed just 12 goals during a regular season in which they went 9-4-3 overall and finished fourth in the CCC with a 7-3-2 record. Lemon led the conference in both goals-against average (0.68) and save percentage (.870) while totaling four shutouts.
Totushek ranked fourth on the team in points with four goals and four assists.
CCC champion Eastern Oregon produced the offensive player of the year (Taylor Boyer), defensive player of the year (Josee Bassett) and newcomer of the year (Mackinley Gregus). Oregon Tech’s Brandon Porter was named the coach of the year.