Ashland VB team suffers season-ending loss

    At Corvallis, Ashland got off to a strong start but couldn't sustain it as Crescent Valley earned a four-set victory over the Grizzlies in an OSAA Class 5A volleyball state play-in match Tuesday at Crescent Valley High School.

    The Raiders of the Mid-Willamette Conference came back from a first-set letdown to beat Ashland, 22-25, 25-20, 25-9, 25-16 and advance to the 16-team state tournament.

    The Grizzlies, who finished 5-14 on the season, were led by Alex Crane's 14 kills and four blocks. Lili Smith added five blocks and four kills, Sydney Philpott 15 digs, and Grace Angermeier 27 assists, eight digs and two aces.

    Crescent Valley, which improved to 10-8 and finished third in the MWC, has won four of its last five matches.

    College Basketball

    Southern Oregon University's men will start at No. 11 and the women at No. 15 in the NAIA Division II Top 25 basketball coaches' polls, the preseason editions of which were released Tuesday by the national office.

    The Raider men, who were picked to finish second in the Cascade Conference, own their highest preseason ranking since the 2013-14 season. They went 18-13 last year and didn't appear in the Top 25 for the first time in five seasons but are slated to return all five starters, including all-conference guards Ben DeSaulnier and Tristen Holmes.

    Also representing the CCC in the poll is No. 7 College of Idaho — the conference's preseason favorite — along with No. 16 Oregon Tech and No. 24 Northwest Christian.

    The Raider women were included in the preseason poll for the fourth year in a row. After peaking at No. 2 the last two seasons and finishing last year at No. 15, they were picked second in the CCC behind Eastern Oregon. Senior point guard Toria Bradford, a major contributor on back-to-back conference title teams, heads a roster with five returning players and 11 newcomers.

    EOU, last year's regular-season CCC co-champion and conference tournament title winner, is the only other team from the circuit in the poll at No. 7.

    Both SOU teams will start their seasons at home — the men on Nov. 1 against University of Maine at Fort Kent, and the women on Nov. 10 against UC Merced.

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