So. Oregon netters clinch top-four CCC finish

PORTLAND — Friday night's sweep of Warner Pacific ensured the Southern Oregon University volleyball team of a top-four seed in the Cascade Conference tournament and a likely home quarterfinal match.

The Raiders (16-8, 13-4 CC) finished the last-place Knights (4-23, 1-16) off in a hurry, needing exactly an hour to tick off scores of 25-14, 25-10 and 25-10. Behind Lauren McGowne's 35 assists, they attacked at a season-best average of .461 to Warner Pacific's .075.

Emma Gasman was dominant in the middle, putting down 13 kills on 19 attacks. Paulla Pinheiro hit .409 with 10 kills from the outside and Nikki Keller finished off seven kills on 10 swings.

The Knights, losers of 11 straight, led for exactly two points after stealing a set from the Raiders during the teams' previous meeting in Ashland. Julia Toscano had seven kills.

SOU will break a third-place tie with Concordia to end the regular season tonight. The Cavaliers went home with a sweep when they first met in Ashland.

Prep Water Polo

At Corvallis, Ashland's boys and girls teams each lost in the state semifinals and will play third-fourth place games today at Osborn Aquatic Center.

The Grizzly boys fell 12-7 to Mountain View of Bend and the girls were beaten 13-6 by Summit of Bend.

In the boys game, Ashland's Hoku Eggertsen had four goals and one steal, and Taos Cadarette-Stewart had three goals, two assists and one field block. Nathan Markovich added a goal and an assist, and goalie Vincent Wright made 17 blocks.

Ashland faces West Albany today at 11:15 a.m.

In the girls game, the Grizzlies' Sabrina Scoggin and Sadie Kasiah each had three goals, one assist and five steals. Goalie Kaya Boehm had six blocks.

Ashland faces Parkrose at 10 a.m. today.

Men's Basketball

At Santa Barbara, Calif., Southern Oregon got off to a slow start and never recovered in an 80-64 nonconference loss to Westmont on Friday.

Tim Weber and David Sturner scored 13 points apiece, but the fourth-ranked Raiders (2-1) fell into a quick 17-4 hole, and 34-percent shooting from the field (17-for-50) stopped them from mounting a comeback.

Westmont — the defending champion of the NAIA Division I Golden State Athletic Conference — was led by CJ Miller's 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting. The Warriors took a 46-29 advantage into halftime and it never shrunk to less than 12 points in the second frame as they shot 58 percent (35-for-60).

Sturner also had a team-high nine rebounds for SOU. Jeff Bush contributed six rebounds and five assists.

The Raiders visit Santa Clarita, Calif., for a game at 7 tonight against The Master's.

Women's Basketball

At Phoenix, Ariz., the Southern Oregon women's basketball team took the lead with a 20-7 run to start the second half and made it stick in a 64-58 win over Arizona Christian on Friday.

Bree Park scored a game-high 15 points and Ashley Claussen had 11 points, five steals, seven rebounds and three assists for the Raiders, who have started 3-0 for the seventh straight season.

SOU trailed 34-27 at halftime before the run, which Park capped with one of her two 3-pointers. The lead grew to as large as 12 points on Claussen's layup with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left.

Allison Gida added 10 points and seven rebounds for SOU, which shot 50 percent (14-for-28) in the second half. Carly Meister tossed in nine points and five boards.

The Firestorm (2-1), which had an 11-point lead in the first half, was led by Shannon Harte's 15 points and Tenisha Royston's 14.

The teams meet again tonight at 6 PST.

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