The Southern Oregon University men's basketball team is ranked 23rd in the NAIA Division II preseason Top 25 poll, marking the first time the Raiders have been ranked in more than six years.
Southern Oregon was last rated in the NAIA poll on Feb. 22, 2006 — the final poll of the 2006 season — when it was listed at No. 13. But with honorable mention All-American Eric Thompson leading a strong returning corps and preseason all-conference honoree David Sturner highlighting a group of nine newcomers, the Raiders are receiving national recognition. The Raiders picked up 101 points to rank 23rd, behind fellow Cascade Collegiate Conference programs Oregon Tech (No. 2), Eastern Oregon (No. 9) and Warner Pacific (No. 15). Northwest picked up 39 points to sit outside the top 25, giving the 10-team CCC a group of five teams that received votes in the national poll.
South Medford senior forward Humberto Alvarez scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the second half as the Panthers broke out of a scoreless halftime tie to beat Ashland 4-2 in a nonconference match Tuesday at Ashland Middle School.
Felipe Sanchez scored the third goal for South (10-2), which has won three games in a row, in the 52nd minute. The Grizzlies (5-6) then fought back to get within a goal on strikes by Gabe Young in the 56th and Zahara Moyers-Cullumbine in the 66th before the Panthers' Uriel Cordoba tacked on an insurance goal in the 76th.
Ashland's Jessica Harrower booted in the eventual game-winning shot early on a pass from Aspen Wolff as the Grizzlies beat South Medford 1-0 in a nonleague game at South Medford High School in Medford.
Kasydie Winner played strong as a central defender for the Grizzlies (6-5-1).
Roseburg beat Ashland 25-13, 25-11, 25-19, in a nonconference match Tuesday at Roseburg High School.
Senior outside hitter Phoebe Challman paced Ashland (11-9) with 12 digs and junior middle Madeline Wallace had nine kills and three blocks.