Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
North Medford junior forward Christian Siordia scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute and the Black Tornado survived three dangerous attacks by Ashland over the last eight-plus minutes to pull out a 3-2 nonconference boys soccer victory Tuesday at Hoffbuhr Field.
Ashland was awarded two corner kicks late and nearly burned North Medford with a last-gasp deep ball with 30 seconds to go, but each attempt was thwarted by a Tornado defense that allowed just five shots on goal, including one in the first half.
Siordia's goal capitalized on North's most prolonged offensive surge of the second half and proved to be the game-winner in a back-and-forth affair that twice saw the Grizzlies tie the game after falling a goal behind. The quick-thinking Siordia took advantage of a brief lapse in Ashland's defense after gathering the ball just inside the 18-yard box, his back to the goal mouth, front and center.
"My teammates told me to turn so once I turned I saw the open shot, so I took it," Siordia said.
The ball floated nicely into the upper right corner of the net just past Ashland keeper Ross Kandaris, whose diving save attempt came up empty.
"That last one was just a beautifully placed ball," said North Medford coach Michael Belzberg, whose team remained undefeated at 3-0-1. "We've been working in practice with the guys not killing it, just placing it where it needs to be."
The shot was North's third and final on-goal attempt of the second half and eighth of the game.
"Everybody gets hot sometimes," Belzberg said. "They can be cold, but I think we've been hot more than not. It helps."
The strike turned the momentum back in North's favor after the Grizzlies tied the game early in the second half and several times came close to taking the lead.
The Grizzlies (1-1), who have scored eight goals in two games, scored the equalizer in the 53rd minute when senior halfback Zahara Moyers-Cullumbine dribbled through two defenders in the box and right-footed in a hard, low shot from close range.