An 11-game unbeaten streak put the Southern Oregon University men’s soccer team in the NAIA Top 25 coaches’ poll Tuesday for the first time in the team’s four-year history.
The Raiders (10-2-1 overall, 7-0-1 Cascade Conference) debuted at No. 24 in the poll, which was the sixth weekly edition of the regular season. They’d been receiving votes in the previous two polls before finally breaking through.
The CCC is represented by two other teams: Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (10-2, 6-1), which SOU defeated 2-0 on Sept. 14, and No. 15 Corban (9-1-1, 6-0-1), which SOU played to a scoreless draw on Sept. 30. Rocky and Corban are slated to match up Friday in Billings, Montanta.
“This is a recognition this team deserves and had deserved for a number of weeks,” SOU head coach Davie Carmichael said. “We have progressed and improved as a team with each game and see no reason that we can’t continue to climb in these rankings; we’ve shown on a few occasions already that SOU can compete with anyone in the country. I’m proud of the players and their application and I know that, ranked or not, they are extremely hungry to compete in the next game in front of them.”
The Raiders maintain a three-point lead in first place over Corban – which has played one less game – going into this weekend’s action. They’ll host Northwest (Wash.) at 4 p.m. Friday and Evergreen (Wash.) at 5 p.m. Saturday, attempting to extend a Raider Stadium unbeaten streak that also sits at 11 games.
Southern Oregon was picked third and College of Idaho was tabbed the favorite in the Cascade Conference men’s basketball preseason poll, which was voted on by CCC head coaches and released Tuesday by the league office.
C of I, last year’s regular-season and tournament champion, received six of 11 first-place votes. Oregon Tech was picked second and received three first-place votes, and SOU picked up the other two. Warner Pacific was picked fourth, Eastern Oregon fifth and Corban sixth.
The Raiders brought back 12 of 14 players on last year’s roster and made five additions. Among the returners are Tristen Holmes, an all-conference senior guard, and junior forward Tate Hoffman and Jordan Hunt, each of whom averaged more than 12 points per game last season. SOU finished 20-12 overall, its fifth 20-win campaign in six years, and went 13-7 in the CCC for the No. 4 seed.
C of I returns three starters from last year’s team that reached the national semifinal round, while OIT boasts CCC co-Player of the Year Mitchell Fink, a junior point guard.
The Raiders open their season Oct. 30 at New Hope Christian. The preseason NAIA Division II Top 25 poll is set for release on Oct. 23.