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Southern Oregon University volleyball coach Josh Rohlfing looks on during a recent practice.[PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR]

SOU volleyball team ranked 13th in NAIA Top 25

ASHLAND — In Tuesday’s preseason edition of the NAIA Top 25 coaches’ poll, the Southern Oregon women’s volleyball team debuted at No. 13 — marking its first time in the rankings since the 2016 preseason, and its highest position since finishing 2015 in the same spot.

The Raiders are ranked higher than any team that finished outside of last year’s final Top 25, and are joined by four other CCC squads: No. 7 College of Idaho, No. 15 Eastern Oregon, No. 19 Corban and No. 24 Northwest (Wash.). In the CCC preseason poll, SOU and Eastern Oregon tied for second behind College of Idaho, the defending conference tournament champion, which collected eight of 10 first-place votes. Corban, last year’s regular-season champ, was picked fourth.

The Raiders will open their season today at the William Jessup Invitational in Rocklin, Calif., against three teams from the California Pacific Conference — Antelope Valley (9 a.m. today), Simpson (3 p.m. today) and Pacific Union (11 a.m. Thursday) — and are slated to end their stay against the hosts from the Golden State Athletic Conference, WJU (5 p.m. Thursday).

Southern Oregon will do the grand-opening honors at Lithia Motors Pavilion on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. against Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), which marks the beginning of a three-day, six-team invitational. It’ll be the first time the Raiders have played home matches prior to their conference schedule since 2013.

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