North Medford’s Luis Cerna came alive in the second half and proved to be the difference-maker against South Medford in Southwest Conference boys soccer Tuesday.
Cerna helped create one goal, then finished a run that led to a second en route to a Black Tornado 2-0 victory at Hoffbuhr Field.
The Panthers (2-7, 2-6 SWC) stymied the Black Tornado (4-2-2, 4-1-1) early as the teams played to a scoreless first half.
“We were missing the mark just a little bit,” said North Medford coach Michael Belzberg, about his squad’s play in the opening 40 minutes. “We were one pass away. It was just a matter of time.”
Cerna made something happen in the 66th minute with a move to the outside and a crossing pass to captain Angel Zamores, who buried a shoulder-high shot near the side of the net for his first goal of the season.
“We came alive after we scored and played much better,” said Belzberg.
Cerna, a senior midfielder, struck again two minutes later. This time Cerna dribbled through Panther defenders then launched a rocket of a shot from 12 yards away that went off South goalie Jude Pannell’s fingers.
“(Cerna) came up big for us today,” said Belzberg. “He’s extremely creative and has some deceptive dribbling.”
North keeper Kendal James was solid in net with the shutout, and defenders Kole Ford and Jonathan Tovar were active on the back line.
“They were in a prevent defense,” said Belzberg, whose team has defeated South in both league games. “They did a good job keeping it close and competitive. We just kept working and trying things.”
GRANTS PASS 2, ROSEBURG 2: At Roseburg, Grants Pass scored twice in the final 14 minutes to secure the Southwest Conference tie.
Roseburg (4-4-1, 2-4-1 SWC) had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Jacob Wilson, the second in the 60th minute coming from 40 yards.
Gage Berkey tallied for the Cavemen (6-1-3, 5-0-3) in the 68th minute, on an assist from Parker Lauffenburger. Wes Frye knotted it eight minutes later, heading in a corner kick from Cade Anderson.
GRANTS PASS 0, ROSEBURG 0: At Grants Pass, Grants Pass outshot the visitors 20-1 and dominated possession in the SWC game at Mel Ingram Field.
The Cavers (3-4-2, 2-4-2 SWC) received spirited play from forwards Elizabeth Williams and Calista Van Delden, but the Roseburg (0-6-2, 0-5-2) defense held firm.
ASHLAND 4, CHURCHILL 1: At Ashland, Liv West scored two goals and Mya Elder Hammond and Tia Wilhelm had two assists apiece as Ashland rolled in the Midwestern League match.
The win kep the Grizzlies (6-1-1, 2-0 MWL) unbeaten in league with Marist (3-0) and North Eugene (2-0).
Ashland has scored 13 goals in its last three games — all wins — and with 31 goals on the season ranks fourth in 5A scoring.
Ginny Cotton scored for Ashland on a rebound off the post, and Elder Hammond tallied in the 55th minute to make it 3-1 before West closed it out.