Raiders rake in national honors

Two Southern Oregon University women's soccer players who over the course of four years elevated the Raiders to their most successful point went out as All-Americans on Thursday.

Alyssa Bricker landed on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's third team, and both Bricker and Sydney Paulsen received NAIA All-American honorable mention for their parts as seniors on SOU's 10-6-3 squad.

Defensively, with Bricker at the forefront, this was the Raiders' best year yet. They set a school record with eight shutouts and allowed less than a goal per game before losing in the Cascade Conference tournament semifinals against Concordia, the eventual national champion.

The NAIA also gave Bricker honorable mention as a junior in 2012.

Paulsen, a forward, had seven goals and three assists, leading the team in both categories, and notched the game-winning strike in SOU's first postseason win since 2008 over Eastern Oregon. She's the third Raider ever to earn honorable mention along with Bricker and Stephanie Carr, the school's all-time leading scorer.

Bricker and Paulsen were both selected to the all-conference team, too. They leave as part of the winningest group of Raiders in history, compiling a 42-24-9 record over four years.

Concordia's Hannah Kimsey, a senior midfielder, was named the NAIA's player of the year after tallying seven goals and 14 assists. Senior defender Samantha Johnson also represented Concordia on the first team, and Concordia midfielder Erin Huisingh and Corban forward Audrey Sullivan were third-team picks.

Women's Volleyball

Lauren McGowne's standout freshman season was deemed worthy of one last honor by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

The Southern Oregon University setter was voted the NAIA Northwest Region's freshman of the year by the AVCA after previously earning Cascade Conference all-star status. McGowne, a Marshfield High product, helped the Raiders to a 13-5 record in the CCC with a league-best average of 11.3 assists per set.

Senior libero Renee Yomtob and junior outside hitter Paulla Pinheiro received honorable mention in the all-region voting. Both were all-conference picks, and Yomtob was the CCC's libero of the year.

McGowne didn't break into SOU's starting lineup until the ninth match of the season. She proceeded to record 50-plus assists on five different occasions.

"Lauren had a tremendous freshman season," SOU head coach Josh Rohlfing said. "Her work ethic and commitment is insatiable; she improved throughout the entire season. We believe her best volleyball is definitely ahead of her and we are excited to see how she continues to grow."

The Raiders ended their season in the conference tournament semifinals with an overall record of 17-10.

Abby Nicholas, a senior outside hitter from Montana State-Northern, claimed the Northwest's player of the year honor. Bill Huebsch, who led MSU-Northern to a 26-6 record, was the coach of the year.

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