BILLINGS, Mont. — Everything but the scores during nonconference play suggested the Southern Oregon men's soccer team wasn't as bad as its record showed. At the best possible moment Friday, the Raiders finally got the result to prove it.
In the Cascade Conference opener on a misty afternoon at Herb Klindt Field, SOU collected its first-ever win against a ranked opponent in a 3-0 upset of No. 9 Rocky Mountain. Moreover, the Raiders (1-5 overall) halted a five-game losing streak in which they were shut out four times.
Senior midfielder Sean McManamon did well to ease their nerves by scoring a mere 18 seconds into the match, stealing the ball from a defender and firing a low strike into the net. Prior to that play, the Raiders had tallied once this season on 59 shots and 25 on goal.
Against the Bears (4-1), they needed just six shots and four on goal to make their mark. Of Rocky's eight shots, only one required a Wyatt Zabinksi save.
The Raiders doubled their lead in the fourth minute. Ahmon Afenegus, a third-year starter who missed most of the preseason with an injury, directed a free kick to freshman Renee Resendez, who headed in the first goal of his career.
Though the Raiders packed in the defense in the second half, they tacked on in the 81st when Mitchell Pinney skipped a shot past keeper Cole Catlin. Travis Hopkins and Wyatt Zabinksi were both credited with assists.
The Bears, who have advanced to the national tournament each of the last five seasons, shared the 2016 championship with Corban thanks to a 2-1 win at SOU on the final day of the regular season that eliminated the Raiders from title contention. Entering the day, they'd gone 21-2-3 in CCC play since joining as an associate member in 2015.
As usual, the matchup was a contentious one with eight yellow cards issued — four on each team — and 31 fouls.
Corban is left as the only CCC team the Raiders have not defeated.
At Billings, Montana, the Southern Oregon women's soccer team has developed a Lauryn Gamache problem.
Last October, in the regular-season finale, Gamache scored the lone goal for Rocky Mountain in a defeat of SOU that ultimately robbed the Raiders of a national tournament berth. On Friday, in this season's CCC opener, Gamache ended the afternoon with three unanswered goals and made the Bears 4-3 winners in double-overtime at Herb Klindt Field.
Gamache, a sophomore forward, has victimized more than just the Raiders (3-4 overall) as of late, scoring eight goals during an active four-game winning streak for the Bears (5-1).
All three of her goals against SOU were scored without the benefit of an assist — in the 70th minute to cut a 3-1 deficit in half, in the 83rd to tie it, and in the 106th for the win after prying the ball from a defender and shooting over keeper Hannah Ceciliani.
The comeback spoiled a two-goal afternoon for senior forward Kelsey Randall, her second as a Raider. The 10th goal of her career, assisted by Makena Totushek, was fired low to the far post and broke a 1-1 tie in the 21st minute. In the 66th, Mia Volpatti set Randall up and she struck it low again past the keeper.
Hannah Taie's corner kick in the 13th minute was headed in by Maddy Spangler to give SOU a 1-0 lead. In the 18th, Alyssa Schneider deposited an equalizer on a rebound of Gamache's shot, giving Gamache an assist.
The Raiders last allowed four goals in a conference game on Oct. 6, 2006 against Concordia (Ore.)
At Portland, Southern Oregon completed the comeback over Warner Pacific on Friday night, winning three straight sets after dropping the first two versus the upset-minded Knights.
The Raiders (5-3, 3-1 Cascade Conference) used a balanced attack, with four players registering 11 or more kills. Elliot Cook did the most damage with 14 winners. The visitors needed them all to overcome a tremendous effort from WPC’s Janessa Mast, who swung for 28 kills and had 13 digs.
SOU turned the tide thanks to improved efficiency on the attack toward the latter stages, and finished the match with nine kills versus just one error in the deciding frame. WPC (2-4, 2-4 CCC) nearly matched the Raiders point for point, but four hitting errors by the Knights made the difference.
Knight setter Kealia Rosa led all players with 51 assists, and needs just six more to break the all-time record at Warner Pacific.