Ashland’s volleyball program had quite a run brewing from 2005-09, securing top-four state trophies in all five seasons.
North Medford head coach Michael Belzberg thought Benito Torres was a little too patient in the Black Tornado's season opener, dribbling away potential scoring opportunities instead of simply shooting the ball. So Belzberg pulled Torres aside during a recent practice and said, "Look, you've got to pull the trigger."
Torres took the advice to heart Saturday, scoring on a hard shot from inside the box about 25 minutes into the second half to break a scoreless tie and give North a 1-0 nonconference win over Bend at Hoffbuhr Field.
Torres took a nicely placed pass from Garret Byrd inside the box, gathered himself then fired the ball into the side netting for the only score of the game.
"He just laced it," Belzberg said.
North Medford keeper Eric Benitez made three good stops in the shutout, which allowed the Tornado to improve to 2-0. Bend fell to 0-2 a day after losing to South Medford.
The Tornado were in position to score in the first half, but Byrd's penalty kick was blocked.
North finished with 12 shots. Belzberg said seven were on the money, but blocked by Bend's tough keeper.
"They played a great game, we just couldn't find the net today," Belzberg said.
SOUTH MEDFORD 4, MOUNTAIN VIEW 1 — Humberto Alvarez scored two goals and assisted two others to lead South Medford (3-0) to the nonleague win at South Medford High.
Alvarez scored in the 24th minute off an assist by Chocho Sanchez, then set up Uriel Cordoba to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead at intermission.
After Mountain View's Zach Emerson scored in the 44th minute, South closed out the match with a goal by Sanchez in the 79th minute off an Alvarez assist and an 80th minute goal by Alvarez, who was set up by Cordoba.
THURSTON 5, CRATER 1 — At Central Point, Norberto Estrada scored Crater's only goal of the game in the 65th minute, allowing the Comets (0-2) to avoid a shutout in a nonconference game at Dutch Meyer Field.
After a scoreless first half, Thurston (1-1) scored two goals in the first five minutes of the second half to take command.
ASHLAND 6, KLAMATH UNION 0 — At Ashland, freshman Stenley Graham scored a hat trick and Ross Kanderis earned the shutout in goal to pace Ashland in its season opener at North Mountain Park.
Graham strung together his three goals in 16-minute sports, netting the first in the 32nd minute and then again in the 48th and 64th minutes.
Nick Chouard got things going with a goal in the 11th minute off a pass from Josue Leal. Ashland also got goals from Gabe Young (34th) and Diego Harrison (55th) in the dominant effort.
MAZAMA 4, EAGLE POINT 1 — At Klamath Falls, Rigo Cisneros had a hat trick as Mazama pulled out the nonconference game.
Luis Valdez scored the only other goal for the Vikings, while the Eagles' lone score came on a penalty kick.
- HIDDEN VALLEY 2, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 — At Cave Junction, Hidden Valley scored two goals in the second half, including one on a penalty kick, in the nonleague clash.
- PHOENIX 5, BROOKINGS-HARBOR 1 — At Brookings, Phoenix received goals from five different players to dominate its season opener.
Johnny Esqueda (second minute), Ezequel Flores (sixth minute) and Eli Espana (39th minute) helped the Pirates to a 3-1 lead at halftime.
Jose Alegria scored in the 73rd minute and assisted Carlos Silva's goal in the 77th.
ROGUE RIVER 6, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1 — At Rogue River, Rogue River's Shawn Donahue had a hat trick in the first half as Rogue River took a 4-0 lead into intermission en route to the nonconference win.
Freshman Dawson Hoover also scored for the Chieftains (1-0) in the first half, while another freshman, keeper Jesse Gonzalez, blanked Cascade in the opening half and added a goal of his own as a midfielder in the second.
For the Challengers (0-1), freshman Jake Booker scored in the second half.