When you’re on a winning team, it’s easy to maintain your competitive spirit.
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CENTRAL POINT — A scoreless first half was just fine for Crater boys soccer coach Jason Licato, whose team entered Tuesday's game against South Medford winless and looking for something to hang its hat on at Dutch Meyer Field.
"I don't think they were happy about that, though," said Licato of the Southern Oregon Hybrid-leading Panthers.
Oh, how right he was.
South Medford wasn't quite as disciplined as head coach Dave Kaufman would've hoped for in the opening 40 minutes but turned the dial up a notch with an impressive second half that led to a 6-0 victory over the Comets.
"South Medford's going to go far probably in the playoffs, so to play them 0-0, we were pretty proud of that," Licato said of the early results. "Then we came into the second half and they just kicked into a second gear that we just couldn't really keep up with. They're a quality passing team and they're smart and their goals were all good, solid goals."
Midfielder Greg Rapet ripped a shot from about 25 yards out to finally get the Panthers (6-0, 3-0 SOH) on the board in the 45th minute.
That seemed to open the floodgates for South, which scored three more times within the next 10 minutes to pull away. Rene Cabrera scored in the 48th minute, followed by goals from Jose Cabrera (52nd) and Felipe Sanchez (55th).
Humberto Alvarez netted a goal in the 57th minute and Colt Sauers deposited a penalty kick in the final minute of play to cap the scoring.
"They weren't gifts, their goalkeeper Omar Mendez does a great job," Kaufman said of his team's offensive surge. "He's probably the most tested goalkeeper in our conference, I'm guessing, but he's a heck of a goalkeeper. He made some great saves in the first half and then we were starting to find more openings on the goal in the front part of the second half."
"The first half they were just being impatient and rushing some of their opportunities on the goal," Kaufman added on the difference for his team between the first and last 40 minutes.
Crater dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in league play.