Seventeen days after conquering the Cascade Conference Tournament, the stakes will be raised for the Southern Oregon University volleyball team as it begins NAIA national championship pool play today at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Raiders are at the tournament with 31 other teams, which were split into four-team pools last week. Ranked 10th with a record of 26-3, they’re the No. 2 seed in a group that includes No. 7 Viterbo (Wis.) (29-6), No. 24 Jamestown (N.D.) (22-8) and unranked Saint Xavier (Ill.) (28-9).
SOU is guaranteed three matches: at 1 p.m. PST today against Jamestown, 2 p.m. Wednesday against Saint Xavier and 2 p.m. Thursday against Viterbo. The top two teams in each group will advance to a 16-team single-elimination bracket; the first round and quarterfinals will be held Friday, and the semifinals and championship are set for Saturday.
The Raiders have already matched their highest win total since 2002. They qualified for the tournament for the 10th time, clinching an automatic bid by winning the CCC regular-season title, and are at the final site for the ninth time, making their first appearance since 2015.
They’ve made it out of pool play once previously — in 2011, when they were one of the last 12 teams standing and got eliminated by Embry-Riddle (Fla.) in the first round of bracket action. Overall, they have a combined 12-15 record in pool matches.
The Southern Oregon University men’s basketball team was selected the Cascade Conference’s team of the week and senior guard Tristen Holmes the Red Lion player of the week, the league office announced Monday.
The 22nd-ranked Raiders improved to 9-1 with a perfect California road swing, winning 68-61 last Tuesday at UC Merced and 71-68 on Saturday at Menlo (Calif.).
In the Merced game, Holmes, a senior from North Medford, keyed a late 14-0 run and delivered the go-ahead three-point play with under five minutes left, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds.
In the Menlo game, Holmes dropped off an assist to Jordan Hunt for the game-winning three-point play with 3.6 seconds left. He also had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
SOU starts Cascade Conference play on the road this week, playing facing at Eastern Oregon and Saturday at third-ranked College of Idaho.