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Panthers continue surge with 3-0 win

The South Medford Panthers are beginning to find their stride.

After taking their lumps in a tough nonconference schedule, South has won its first two Southern Oregon Conference matches. Not bad for a team that replaced virtually its entire lineup after winning the Class 4A state title last year.

South registered a 3-0 victory over Klamath Union at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park Saturday, doing all of its scoring in the first half.

Freshman Pat Lower staked South (3-5-1) to a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the match when he nailed a ground shot near the far post from 15 yards out.

Four minutes later, Ethan Wallenberg scored off a header by Sam Rath after Bryce Majors delivered a cross pass.

With 10 minutes left in the half Corey Parks scored on a 22-yard shot. Chris Gillingham set up the goal, driving along the goal line and then dishing off to Rath, who assisted Parks.

Improving first touch and ball possession skills have enabled us to develop a passing game to the degree that when we use it we are effective, said coach Dave Potter, who made the move from girls to boys coach at South this season. There's still more to go, but it's taking shape.

After a sterling first half, the Panthers struggled a bit in the final 40 minutes.

We were a bit ragged in the second half and got nothing for it, Potter said.

It was the second shutout of the season for South goalie Mark Goerke. The defensive back line of Craig Tomlins, Ben Buchta and John Micah Sumrall shined and Potter also applauded Parks' and Josh Neville's play at midfield.

ASHLAND 1, ROSEBURG 0 -- At Roseburg, the Ashland Grizzlies beat the Indians 5-4 in a shootout, following a scoreless regulation and overtime venture, improving to 7-1 on the season and 2-0 in SOC action.

Grizzly goalkeeper Mok Mokma was able to save the third attempt by the Indians during the shootout to give Ashland all the breathing room it needed.

Eric Sharp, Zack Potocki, Erin Poppke, Ben Swatez and Jon Armstrong each hit the mark during their shootout attempts for the Grizzlies.

During regulation and the 10-minute overtime Ashland took 12 shots on goal to Roseburg's three and the Grizzlies also attempted three corner kicks, while the Indians failed to attempt any.

GRANTS PASS 3, NORTH MEDFORD 2 -- North Medford fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the second half but failed to punch through the tying goal despite numerous chances late in the match.

Josh Badcock scored on a penalty kick for North Medford with 20 minutes remaining that made it 3-2, but the Black Tornado could draw no closer.

Johnny Whitaker scored North Medford's first goal on a 20-yard shot. The assist went to Joel Sunderland.

Whitaker's goal gave North Medford a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half, but Grants Pass tied the game three minutes later when Ryan Jacobs received a through pass and raced unabated to the goal, where he blasted a touch shot into the net.

The loss dropped the Tornado to 1-1 in the SOC and 3-5 overall.

CRATER 5, EAGLE POINT — -- Five differ-ent Crater players scored goals as the Comets jumped to a 4-1 halftime lead and coasted to the SOC victory.

Eric Leiva, Jordan Kell, Bert Hicks, Pete Kashevarof and Chad Johnson scored goals for the Comets, while Brad Crawford registered a hat trick for Eagle Point.

Crawford's final goal pulled the Eagles within 4-3 with 10 minutes remaining in the match, but Johnson connected on a rebound shot to give Crater another two-goal cushion.

The loss dropped EP to 0-2 in the SOC and 1-3-5 overall.