After coming within one win of a spot in the national final, the Southern Oregon University softball team was No. 3 in the final NAIA Top 25 coaches’ poll for the highest ranking in team history.
The Raiders finished with a school-record win total at 51-15 after winning Cascade Conference regular-season and tournament title, the NAIA Opening Round Southern Oregon bracket, and four consecutive elimination games at the NAIA World Series. They were also No. 3 in the preseason poll and were No. 8 at the end of the regular season.
It’s the fifth time the Raiders have ever been included in the final poll. Last year, when they finished No. 6, marked the first time since 2005.
University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma claimed the top spot for the first time after winning the national championship with a 57-5 record. Columbia (Mo.), the team that knocked out SOU in the middle of the night to advance to the final, was No. 2.
The Cascade Conference was also represented by No. 13 Oregon Tech and No. 20 Corban in the poll.
On Thursday morning, the NAIA also announced that the 2019 and ‘20 World Series will be held in Springfield, Mo., at Missouri State University’s Killian Sports Complex.
Southern Oregon takes 13th in final NAIA Directors’ Cup standings
The Southern Oregon University athletic department’s performance was once again among the best in the NAIA in 2017-18, landing at No. 13 in the final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings that were released Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
SOU led all Cascade and Frontier Conference schools in the standings and was also the top-performing public school in the NAIA.
The Directors’ Cup, which debuted in the NAIA in 1995-96, awards points based on an institution’s finish at the NAIA Championships in up to 13 sports. The Raiders totaled 609 points — 248 in the fall, 176 in the winter and 185 in the spring - to exceed last year’s total of 527 points, which landed an identical 13th-place finish.
Each of SOU’s top-four finishes have occurred in the last four years; the Raiders were sixth in 2014-15, which still stands as a Cascade Conference record, and eighth in 2015-16.
In the spring, SOU got 86.5 points from its third-place softball team, 51 points from its 22nd-place women’s track and field team and 47.5 points from its 25th-place men’s track and field team. The other points during the year were accounted for by football (83, tied-3rd), men’s cross country (80, 4th), women’s basketball (53, tied-9th), women’s indoor track and field (64.5, 12th), women’s cross country (60, 15th), men’s wrestling (58.5, 16th), and men’s soccer (25, tied-17th).