fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Crenshaw points the way for Tornado soccer team

She stands just 5-foot-3. She weighs 120 pounds, with her uniform and soccer equipment on.

But don't be fooled. North Medford High senior forward Lu Crenshaw -- who pound for pound is probably the premier girls high school soccer player in Southern Oregon -- is anything but a little girl with fear on her face, or within her fiery demeanor, when she slips on her soccer gear and goes into combat on the soccer field.

Lu's fearless, says North Medford coach Dick Darcy. I don't think there would be anybody for her to fear when she's playing. Unless, a football player came out with his pads on.

Even then, Crenshaw, who has been known to speak her mind on the field and back it up with an aggressive, physical style of play, might tell that football player to get lost, Darcy admits.

Crenshaw's opponents have learned to respect her on the soccer field. And fear her.

I think I can be intimidating, admits Crenshaw. That's the way our whole team plays. We have some tough girls on our team.

I usually don't say a lot, unless somebody is talking to me, she says. Then, I might say something back.

In a recent match, Crenshaw got into a shoving match with an opposing player.

She was riding me real hard, and I told her to get off me, says Crenshaw. She pushed and I pushed her back. The referee told me to stop retaliating and just play. I told him to keep her off my back. I know coach Darcy didn't like me saying that.

But she couldn't help herself.

I don't back down, says Crenshaw. I'm not going to do it. Why should I? I'm not afraid.

With that fearless, aggressive-minded approach, it's no wonder Crenshaw has become the most prolific scorer in North Medford soccer history. Boys or girls soccer.

The speedy forward has scored 68 goals as a four-year starter for the Black Tornado -- more than any girl or boy has recorded at the school.

With her 15 goals in six games this season, Crenshaw continues to add to her school-record goal count. With the bulk of the season ahead, including the state playoffs, Crenshaw figures to establish a record that could stand for a long time.

Two weeks ago, she was feeling good about having most of the season ahead to help the Black Tornado win games. But as soon as she started feeling too good about herself, something bad happened. She was accidentally kicked by an Ashland player in her right ankle. She suffered a badly sprained ankle and pulled ligaments in the ankle area.

But Lou was determined to recover from the injury and get back in the lineup. She missed North's win over Roseburg, when junior forward Tennille Bennett stepped in and scored a career-high five goals.

I was upset I missed that game, says Crenshaw. But I felt better after we won. I didn't want to miss any more game.

Lu took herself to the doctor to get rehabilitation on her ankle every day, says her mother, Jan Crenshaw. She did the right things because she couldn't stand to be out. It was driving her crazy.

Crenshaw returned to North's starting lineup last Saturday against Grants Pass. Wearing an ankle brace, with tape tightly wrapped around it, Crenshaw was a whirling, churning force, and she ran the field with stifling speed. She seemed to intimidate some Grants Pass players with her speed and force of play.

North won the game, 8-0, to improve its season record to 6-1. The Black Tornado leads the Southern Oregon Conference with a 5-1 record.

You would have never known Lu was hurt, says Darcy. I'm sure she was playing in pain. She had the ankle all taped up and a brace on it.

Crenshaw has played six seasons for Darcy, including three with the Rogue Valley Irish youth team. Crenshaw is Darcy's kind of player.

She's one of my favorites, says Darcy. She doesn't ever slow down, and she's always taking people on out there. Fearless is a pretty big word, but if anybody is, she's the one.

I'm going to miss Lu a lot after this year, says Darcy. I hope she can finish it off the way she wants. She should be the favorite to be Most Valuable Player of the league. But you never know. She should have got it two years ago when she scored 28 goals.''

Crenshaw says being the SOC Most Valuable Player would be an extra reward. My goal is for the team to win the conference and go as far as we can at state, says Crenshaw. I think we're good enough to win state, if we keep playing together.