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...
After suffering two straight losses to end the regular season, the North Medford girls soccer team was eager to get back on the pitch Saturday and it showed.
The Black Tornado needed only four minutes to score and then steadily pressured Glencoe en route to a 4-0 triumph in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
"I think we've just kinda gotten back to our game," said North Medford head coach Emily Miller. "We had those two losses at the end of our regular season and the girls just wanted to get back to our game. Our game just looks better on that nice fast turf, playing to the feet and getting out there and pressuring."
Amanda Hisey collected a pass at the top of the box, took a couple dribbles and buried a shot from the right side into the goal for a 1-0 lead. In the 22nd minute, Morgan Barry sent a soaring corner kick into the box to Kimmy Parker, whose header made it 2-0 against the Crimson Tide (6-8).
North Medford (10-4) pushed its lead up to three goals in the second half with another header goal, this time off a perfect cross from Sydney Thomas to Hisey at the back post.
"Two header goals in one game is always nice to see," added Miller.
Barry finished off the scoring in the 77th minute when she trailed a breakaway by Hisey, who dribbled wide and then sent a pass back across for a close-range shot by Barry.
Bailey O'Connor made two saves for North before giving way in goal to Hayley Haas with 15 minutes to go. Miller said McKensie Ragan was a central figure in the Tornado's ability to keep the ball on Glencoe's side of the field from her sweeper position, with Marisa Hillburn stepping in on defense to help the cause.
North Medford will face a second-round test at Tigard (11-1-3) on Tuesday.
LINCOLN 1, SOUTH MEDFORD 0, SO — At Portland, South Medford's Franny Gomez and Emma Jantzer each found the net when the first-round 6A playoff game went into penalty kicks and Lindsey Namanny made two saves before Lincoln's fifth kicker settled the match to give the Cardinals a 3-2 edge in the shootout.
South Medford (7-5-2) went first in the shootout and missed on its first two efforts while Lincoln (5-4-5) converted both. Gomez and Jantzer followed with their penalty kicks to tie it at 2-all before the Cardinals' last kicker delivered the game-winner.
Neither team had many legitimate scoring opportunities in the 80-minute regulation or either 10-minute overtime periods.
JESUIT 6, GRANTS PASS 0 — At Portland, Jesuit blanked Grants Pass in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
The Cavers finished the year 5-7-4, while Jesuit, which will next face Central Catholic, improved to 11-1-3.
CHURCHILL 2, ASHLAND 1 — At Eugene, Sadie Bailey's goal in the 45th minute evened the match at 1 for Ashland before Churchill scored the game-winner 10 minutes later in the Class 5A state play-in match.
Bailey's score was assisted by Ia Balbuena.
The Lancers (8-7) took a 1-0 lead against the Grizzlies (8-6-1) on a free kick in the 10th minute.