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Portland State opens Big Sky football season at Idaho State; Lewis & Clark rallies for win

PSU football: Portland State's bid for the Big Sky championship, or at least a return to the FCS playoffs, starts 2 p.m. PT Saturday at Idaho State. The Vikings (2-2, with losses at Arkansas and Boise State) have reloaded and rebuilt since they last made the postseason, in 2015.

"Of course we feel like we can contend," PSU quarterback Davis Alexander said.

Idaho State (1-2) had a shot at its first-ever road win over an FCS top-10 team, leading 6-3 through three quarters at No. 9 Northern Iowa before falling 13-6. The Bengals also lost 31-0 at Utah.

Like PSU, Idaho State has relied on a stingy defense. The Bengals were seventh and PSU 10th in the coaches and media preseason Big Sky polls. The teams played at Hillsboro Stadium last year, with ISU winning 48-45.

Portland State's defense has been solid this year, "and the offense has showed glimpses," Vikings coach Bruce Barnum said. "We have the capability of explosive plays. We've just got to be more consistent and not hurt ourselves with penalties."

Small-college football: Lewis & Clark drove 84 yards in seven plays and scored with 1:50 left to knock off Whittier 44-41 Saturday in the Pioneers' home opener. Quarterback Caden Voges tossed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Aidan Verba-Hamilton for the lead. It was their third TD connection of the game.

The Pios trailed 21-3 in the first half and 35-24 late in the third quarter.

The Poets (2-1) then drove to the Pioneers' 35-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs.

Michael Abraham of L&C ran for three scores and 139 yards on 23 carries. His TDs came on runs of 3, 37 and 4 yards.

Voges' other touchdown passes covered 14 and 45 yards.

It was L&C's first win in a home opener since 2012. Whittier fell to 2-1.

"It was a lot of drama, but it came out the way we wanted it to," said Lewis & Clark coach Jay Locey, whose team (1-1) has a bye this week and will begin its Northwest Conference season Oct. 5 at Pacific Lutheran (1-1).

College women's soccer: The University of Portland (4-2-2) begins West Coast Conference play on Oct. 5 at Pepperdine. Road wins at San Jose State and California last weekend provided a boost for the squad.

"The Cal game felt like a culmination of everything we've been talking about since we started (training) in August," Pilots coach Michelle French said. "That was a really important stepping stone."

Considering that six of Portland's eight matches have been away from Merlo Field and one loss was to No. 4-ranked North Carolina, French is pleased with the nonconference results.

Since losing 4-0 to the then-No. 2 Tar Heels in Seattle on Sept. 1, Portland is 3-1-1 and has scored two goals in each of its last five games.

Prior to winning 2-0 on Sunday at Berkeley, and handing the 21st-ranked Golden Bears their first loss, Portland had fallen behind in five consecutive matches. While French is pleased with the resiliency and fight from her squad, she said the Cal match had the intensity, focus on the game plan and the strong start that had eluded her team for weeks.

French and her staff have worked with the players to be calmer with the ball and to build attacks through possession rather than always seeking quick upfield passes.

"We caused ourselves a lot of problems" by giving up possession too quickly and in bad spots on the field at times, French said.

Junior forward Taryn Ries (three goals, four assists) remains the focal point of Portland's attack. She scored the overtime winner Friday at San Jose State. French points to the four assists as an example of how Ries has expanded her game.

Junior Jamie Rita and senior Rachel Khaw each scored her first goal of the season in the win at Cal, giving the Pilots seven goal scorers. Khaw hadn't played in the four games prior to scoring off the bench at Cal, a sign that everyone in the program remains committed.

"We really couldn't have scripted (last weekend) much better," French said.

• After going 8-0 in nonconference play, Oregon State opens Pac-12 play with three road games, beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at Washington State. The Cougars are 7-1.

• Oregon takes a 4-1-3 mark into its Pac-12 opener, 7 p.m. Friday at Washington.

• Concordia is 2-4 entering its GNAC opener on Saturday at Montana State Billings.

College men's soccer: Portland returns to action at 4 p.m. Sunday, renewing a rivalry with Washington in Seattle.

The Pilots have posted two strong wins in a row, beating 23rd-ranked Cal Northridge 3-1 on Sept. 20 at Merlo Field after a 1-0 win on Sept. 15 at Wisconsin. Against CSUN, senior Rey Ortiz and freshman Delentz Pierra each scored his first goal of the season. Nine players have goals for the 4-2-1 Pilots.

After the UW match, Portland plays host on Oct. 4 to UC Riverside before beginning WCC play on Oct. 12 at home against Pacific.

• The Oregon State men are 2-0 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers ran their conference home winning streak to eight dating to late in the 2017 season.

On Sunday, the Beavers scored twice in less than two minutes early in the second half to rally past San Diego State 2-1. Goalkeeper Adrian Fernandez saved a penalty kick to preserve the win.

OSU opened conference play Friday with a 2-0 win over UCLA. Sofiane Djeffal, a sophomore midfielder from France, had a goal and assist in each match last weekend.

The Beavers (5-3-0) play host to UC Davis for a nonconference game at 7 p.m. Sunday.

College volleyball: Oregon took it on the chin — and on senior outside hitter Willow Johnson's ankle — going 2-5 on an East Coast swing to fall to 4-5 in the preseason and from 10th to 14th to 24th in the national rankings. Three of the losses came to highly ranked teams (No. 4 Pittsburgh, No. 5 Penn State and No. 7 Minnesota), but the Ducks also fell at Princeton and to Duke.

Now comes the Pac-12 season and a 5:30 p.m. Thursday rivalry match at Oregon State (6-5, but with only one match against a top-25 opponent, a loss to No. 17 Colorado State).

• Portland and Portland State each beat the other 3-1 on the other's court last week. The Pilots are 8-3 going into their West Coast Conference opener, 7 p.m. Thursday at home against San Diego. No. 9 BYU plays at Chiles Center at noon Saturday. The Vikings went 4-7 and will open Big Sky action Thursday at Idaho.

• Jasmine Gross, a former Jesuit High standout, was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after leading No. 25 USC to a 3-0 weekend and being named Most Valuable Player of the Trojan Invitational Sept. 13-14. She totaled 32 kills and 16 blocks.

Women's soccer: Former Pilot standout Megan Rapinoe was honored as the FIFA Women's Player of the Year on Monday at a ceremony in Milan, Italy.

Rapinoe, 34, won both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball while helping the United States win the Women's World Cup.

Rapinoe, who played at Portland 2004-08, beat out finalists Alex Morgan and defender Lucy Bronze of England for the award.

The award, based on performance between May 2018 and the conclusion of the 2019 Women's World Cup, is voted upon primarily by national team coaches, national team captains and a panel of journalists invited by FIFA.

Lionel Messi of Argentina and Barcelona won the men's award for the sixth time, a record.

Rapinoe also was named to the 2019 FIFA women's Best XI all-star team, along with U.S. teammates Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz and Kelley O'Hara. Joining Ertz and Lavelle in the Best XI midfield is former Portland Thorns player Amandine Henry.

IndyCar: Fans at Portland International Raceway watched three weeks ago as Colton Herta won the pole position and led much of the Grand Prix of Portland, and Will Power captured the checkered flag, and Josef Newgarden maintained the series lead with a solid finish (fifth) at Portland International Raceway.

The same three drivers factored into the NTT IndyCar Series finale Sunday at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif.

The 19-year-old Herta won from the pole for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, holding off runner-up Power, and Newgarden managed to finish eighth in his No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet Dallara to win his second IndyCar Series championship.

Simon Pagenaud finished second for the year in points, with his win at the Indy 500, and Power surged late in the season with two victories and strong finishes — all for Team Penske.

"Josef's a great champion. You can see it in his eyes," team owner Roger Penske said.

It was Team Penske's 16th series title.

Newgarden, 28 and from Hendersonville, Tenn., had a tough car to manage at Laguna Seca.

"I'm just happy it's done with, to be honest with you," he said. "I was just happy we were able to get through (Sunday). It was kind of a chaotic event. There were moments where I didn't think it was going to go our way."

Herta, despite two victories in 2019, didn't get the Rookie of the Year Award. That went to Sweden's Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing, who was fifth in the finale and sixth in points for the season.

The 2020 season begins on March 15 at St. Petersburg, Fla. Portland will again be the next-to-last race (Sept. 6), with the 17th and concluding event Sept. 20 at Laguna Seca.

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