ASHLAND, Ore. -- On Saturday afternoon the Raiders took the field for their 2016 season opener facing a familiar foe in the Humboldt State -- a team that Southern Oregon has opened the previous four seasons against. In last year's meeting, Humboldt dealt Southern a 14-7 defeat in Redding, but the Raiders avenged that loss in dominating fashion, winning 12-2.
Southern set the tone early with an extra-man goal by freshman middie Garrett Greenway -- his first career goal on his first ever shot as a Raider. The Raiders outshot Humboldt 18-3 in the first quarter and took a 4-0 lead into the second frame. After jumping out to this early lead, Southern didn't look back, heading into halftime up 9-0 with a 31-5 shot advantage.
The Raiders scored 12 unanswered goals before Humboldt got on the scoreboard in the third. Humboldt only scored once in the fourth for the final margin.
It was an impressive game all around for the Raiders. The red-hot offense outshot Humboldt 59-12 and a stout defensive unit, led by senior captain Killian Spicer and junior captain Taylor Harrison, allowed just the two goals.
Senior goalie Connor Kelley was a brick wall in cage, saving six of the eight shots he saw for a 75% save percentage. Senior defender Samuel Taylor created havoc on the Hogs' offense, causing 13 turnovers (an SOU single-game record).
Sophomore attackman Spencer Pregal, the team's leading goal scorer last year, began his 2016 campaign with his fourth career hat trick while only playing in the first half. Senior attackman Scott Murphy led the team in assists with three. Junior middie Harley Humphrey was dominant on faceoffs, winning 12 of his
16 draws (75%).
Three Raider freshmen midfielders scored their first collegiate goals in Saturday's victory: Greenway, Andre Morris and Scott Comer (2). Comer received the season's first game ball as a result of his physicality and for scoring two goals in his first game as a Raider.
Next up for the Raiders is a trip down to California for a weekend full of games. On Saturday (2/13), SOU faces San Jose State at 1:00 p.m. followed by a
Valentine's Day date with the Pacific at 12:00pm.
The Raiders were victorious in their previous contests against both of these WCLL squads. Last year, the Raiders defeated San Jose State, 9-7 in Raider Stadium. On their 2014 spring break trip, the Raiders beat Pacific by a score of 17-3. Both games this weekend will be live tweeted.