North Medford’s girls soccer team continued to make strides Saturday but still exited the pitch with little to show for it in a game effort against Southwest Conference-leading South Eugene at Hoffbuhr Field.

Competing against the No. 2 team in the Class 6A state power rankings, the Black Tornado captured a 1-0 lead in the first half but couldn’t stave off the Axemen in an eventual 2-1 loss.

“It’s been a tough year for this group,” said North Medford head coach Jeff Thomas. “We compete every game and every game we walk off feeling kind of gutted because we feel like the girls are right there and we’re just not getting any breaks.”

North Medford (1-8-1, 1-7-1 SWC) gained the lead in the 34th minute when senior Courtney Denn gathered the ball near midfield and sliced a pass through the back line to freshman sister Taylor Denn, who buried the ball in the back of the net.

That lead was short-lived, however, as South Eugene’s Emily Boettcher scored five minutes later just before halftime to create a 1-all tie.

South Eugene (10-1, 10-0), which entered the game having not allowed a goal in SWC play, went ahead on a nice combination play in the 61st minute.

Over the final 10 minutes, senior Madison Morgan was joined by each Denn sister in creating solid scoring opportunities but the Black Tornado could not convert. North Medford has now managed only seven goals on the season.

“We had our chances,” said Thomas, “we just could not put it into the back of the net.”

Junior goalkeeper Brinley O’Neill had another strong showing for North with nine saves, including three in spectacular fashion.

“She stood on her head again, that’s what she does for us,” said Thomas. “She keeps us competitive and keeps us in it.”

MARIST 4, CRATER 1: At Central Point, Marist built a 3-0 advantage by halftime to earn the Midwestern League victory.

Freshman Izabella Martinez scored in the 56th minute off an assist by junior McKenna Gugliotta to keep Crater (2-7, 0-4 MWL) from being shutout. Gugliotta stole the ball and played it forward to Martinez, who connected on a 21-yard effort.

Marist (8-3-1, 4-1) tacked on its final goal with three minutes to play.

OREGON EPISCOPAL 5, ST. MARY’S 0: St. Mary’s adamantly hoped for a late-season playoff primer and three-time defending Class 3A/2A/1A champion Oregon Episcopal School gave the Crusaders all that and more at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The visiting Aardvarks (9-0), who have outscored opponents 48-2 now, tallied first-half goals by Stephanie Finley, Harper Hummelt and Megan Ruoff and kept the Crusaders (6-4) at bay throughout despite what St. Mary’s coach Dave Potter said was a “totally satisfying” effort by his team in terms of quality of play and composure.

Annika Lovestrand and Finley tacked on second-half goals for OES, which is No. 1 in the power rankings. St. Mary’s had allowed only 12 goals entering the match and stands fifth in the power rankings.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, LAKEVIEW 1: Cascade Christian sophomore Brynie Jordaan came on with 10 minutes to play and one minute later authored a game-tying assist on a goal by Sophie Ferriera to keep the Challengers tied for second in the District 5 standings.

Lakeview (6-2-1, 4-2-1 Dist. 5) scored in the 26th minute on a scramble in the box that led to a close-range goal by Macey Hargis.

That goal looked like it might hold up until Jordaan was inserted and instantly created an opportunity with a crossing pass to Ferriera, who put a one-timer into the back of the net for the Challengers (7-3-2, 4-2-1).

Audrey Quast was steady in goal but picked up an assist from Emily Stephens, who took over in goal for a 20-yard free kick after Quast was issued a yellow card on a foul. On the free kick, Stephens leaped a tipped the ball over the post for a crucial save in the 60th minute.

ILLINOIS VALLEY 3, ROGUE RIVER 2: At Rogue River, Aarika Brooks scored twice for Illinois Valley, including the go-ahead goal in the 76th minute to lead the Cougars to a District 5 road victory.

The teams exchanged penalty kick goals by Melody Mantlo (Rogue River) and Isabella Idoine (Illinois Valley) in the sixth and ninth minutes, respectively, before Jesse Langfield scored off an assist by Maddison Bless in the 40th minute to put the Chieftains (0-9, 0-6 Dist. 5) ahead at intermission.

Brooks tied the match in the 61st minute off an assist by Nikki Yoshiwara, then tallied off an Idoine assist to put the Cougars (4-6, 2-4) ahead for good.

Making her first start, freshman Haleigh Freitas made eight saves in goal for IV.