Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
TALENT — Three days after testing its mettle against one of the best soccer programs in the state, Cascade Christian put the lessons it learned to good use.
Katelyn Stephens had a goal and two assists and Alex Haug added a goal and an assist as the Challengers bounced back from Saturday's loss to Catlin Gabel with a 6-3 nonleague victory over Phoenix on Tuesday at Hagler-James Park.
Stephens booted in a 25-yard shot in the third minute to help Cascade Christian take a 2-1 lead at intermission before the Challengers exploded with three goals in a nine-minute span in the second half to blow the game open. Katelyn Fitch tallied one of those goals — a spectacular solo effort from 20 yards out that was just out of the reach of Phoenix keeper Madie Landis.
Phoenix junior center-midfielder Facie Graham had a hat trick in the Pirates' first game of the season, but it wasn't enough to overcome the quick-striking Challengers (1-1).
"I think they got down to business, given what happened on Saturday," Cascade Christian head coach Mick Power said, referring to Saturday's 4-1 loss to Catlin Gabel, which has advanced to the Class 3A/2A/1A state championship game three out of the last four years. "It's kind of the time of the season when they need to settle down and play their game, and when they play their game, they're terrific. Some of the goals were just brilliantly articulated out there and it's what we've been practicing."
Nursing a 2-1 lead, Cascade Christian picked up an insurance goal when Alex Torano took advantage of a nice pass from Stephens in the 54th minute. Six minutes later Haug converted a solo run through and, three minutes after that, Fitch completed the barrage with a sharp-angled blast that impressed Power.
"There was some pretty soccer out there today," Power said.
For the Pirates, Graham was unassisted on two of her goals, and kicked in a cross from Amanda Skaff in the 17th minute. Landis added 15 saves.
SOUTH MEDFORD 2, SOUTH EUGENE 0 — At Eugene, freshman Anna Rose scored just before halftime and sophomore goalie McKenzie Kapp made a big save in the second half to preserve the lead for South Medford.
Renae Nisbet took a ball played forward up the side and found Rose, who put a shot just inside the right side of the net from about 15 yards out with less than a minute remaining in the opening half.
Kapp made a good reaction save on a low, hard shot at the 68-minute mark with the Panthers clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Brittany Jensen scored on a 20-yard free kick with four minutes left to give South some breathing room.
The Panther defense benefitted from the leadership of junior twins Desiree and Larissa Lakin and sophomores Andie DeVries and Sara Smith also contributed effective play on the defensive end.
SHELDON 5, GRANTS PASS 0 — At Grants Pass, Grants Pass failed to capitalize on some early scoring opportunities in a season-opening home loss at Mel Ingram Field
Sheldon received two goals and two assists from Bree Grove and two goals from Ashley Osborne. Rachel Giles also scored for the Irish.
The Cavers, who trailed 2-0 at the half, received some spirited performances from senior forward Andrea Theriau and senior midfielder Shelby Derocher.
NORTH VALLEY 2, GLIDE 0 — At Glide, North Valley received unassisted goals from Kerissa D'Arpino and Alexis Scott.
The Knights took a 1-0 lead into halftime on D'Arpino's score in the 28th minute.
The North Valley defense, led by Kasey Werner and Rochelle Banta, did not allow the Wildcats a shot on goal.
ILLINOIS VALLEY 4, DEL NORTE 1 — At Cave Junction, Amanda Brooks registered an assist on three goals — two by Kenndra Ferry — to lead Illinois Valley to the season-opening victory.
Freshman Aundrea Miller got the scoring started in the 11th minute and Ferry scored the first of her goals 19 minutes later on an unassisted effort to help the Cougars to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Ferry and Taylor Byrne added second-half goals before Del Norte reached the scoring column in the 73rd minute.
GRANTS PASS 1, SHELDON 1 — At Eugene, Brian Luther scored a first-half goal for Grants Pass in the nonconference road game.
Luther scored off an assist from Nathan Trujillo in the 10th minute.
Sheldon tied the game on a goal in the 65th minute.
EAGLE POINT 1, NORTH VALLEY 1 — At Merlin, Eagle Point came away with a hard-fought tie despite being down one man most of the second half.
The teams played to a scoreless opening period.
The Eagles scored in the 44th minute when Renaldo Rincones took a through ball from Sebastian Tovar and put a shot inside the far post from 18 yards away.
North Valley capitalized about six minutes later with Eagle Point a player down (he received two yellow cards). Trinidad Flores deposited a shot in the net from just inside the box off a free kick that hit off the post for the Knights.
Eagle Point defensive midfielders Emir Lemos and Lucas Gomez helped shut down the Knights' attack, while Ryan Clarkin played a strong defensive game for North Valley.
DEL NORTE 11, ILLINOIS VALLEY 2 — At Cave Junction, Dakota Crow scored 87 seconds into the match off a set play for Illinois Valley and the Cougars got an unassisted goal from Keith Lewin in the 22nd minute in the nonleague opener.
Del Norte led 7-2 at halftime.