SPRINGFIELD — Southern Oregon's opponents still haven't sniffed out a lead in Cascade Conference play. And by keeping the pressure on in Friday's 2-0 victory at Northwest Christian, the Raiders set up a tilt today at fifth-ranked Corban that suddenly has game-of-the-year potential.
SOU (5-5 overall, 5-0 CCC) scored in each half while smothering the Beacons — getting Ahmon Afenegus' first of the season unassisted in the 16th minute, and Sean McManamon's second via Jared Delaney's through-ball in the 66th.
After being outscored by a combined margin of 11-1 against their first five opponents, the Raiders have outscored their last five 17-1. With that, they've established a new longest conference win streak in the team history.
More remarkably, SOU has a 10-game road winning streak in CCC play dating back to 2015.
The Raiders will put it to the test in Saturday's 3 p.m. contest at Corban, which is the CCC's defending co-champion and the only unbeaten team outside of SOU. The Warriors are the only team the Raiders have yet to take a point from in conference play over the last three years.
The Beacons (2-5-1, 2-2-1) were the first CCC team to place a shot on goal in a second half against the Raiders, but that one was all they got in the face of a red-hot SOU defense. In total, the Raiders had advantages of 14-6 in shots and 8-1 in shots on goal.
For the go-ahead score, Afenegus took a free kick five yards off the corner and curled it in outside the reach of keeper Yayo Olvera. The junior's goal was his sixth overall and brought him to 24 career points.
McManamon, after taking Delaney's pass, snuck ahead of the defense and beat Olvera from approximately 20 yards out. He's scored both his goals in conference action.
At Springfield, sophomore midfielder Aislinn Waite was the face of another hard-fought Southern Oregon road victory on Friday afternoon, 1-0 over Northwest Christian at Mike Kelly Field.
The lone goal of the day was Waite's second of the season, put away in the 68th minute to help the Raiders (5-4 overall) go to 2-1 in the Cascade Conference. After Makena Totushek connected on a cross with Kelsey Randall, Randall flicked a pass to Waite and she went off to the races, eventually directing a strike into the back of the net after dribbling about 30 yards on a breakaway.
The game-winner was the first of Waite's career. It sunk the Beacons to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in the circuit.
It was also the fourth straight matchup in which the Raiders have blanked NCU. They've never lost in the 13-game history of the series.
SOU maintained a 17-7 edge in shots as Hannah Ceciliani grabbed to saves for her third shutout of the season and second in a row.
The Raiders have won 10 of their last 12 conference road games dating back to the 2015 season, and eight of those wins have been decided by one goal. Overall, Friday's game was their eight straight played away from home.
At Eugene, the Morse Event Center was unkind to the Southern Oregon University volleyball team for just the second time Friday night in a 25-22, 25-17, 25-14 loss to the Northwest Christian Beacons.
The Beacons (11-4 overall, 6-4 Cascade Conference) took down the Raiders thanks in part to a 9-2 advantage in blocks, spurred by Megan Van Marter's six assisted. Van Marter had six kills, too, that complemented Kasey Campbell's nine and Natalie Downes' seven within a .216 NCU attack.
SOU (7-5, 5-3) got 20 digs out of Ashlyn Flynn and 12 from Emma Ryan to slow down the Beacons, but the Raiders attacked at a clip of only .051. Dani Johnson had nine kills, Makayla Hoyt and Taylor Ristvedt both added seven, and Natalie James posted a team-high 14 assists to go with 11 digs.
SOU's block total matched a season low.
In the first set, they played the Beacons to nine ties and four lead changes. But in the next two, the lead never changed hands.