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Scoring flurry launches South to state

A three-goal explosion in six-minute span of the second half propelled South Medford's boys soccer team into the Class 4A state playoffs Tuesday.

The Panthers, who peppered the Klamath Union end of the field with precise passes and shots but had nothing to show for it, finally broke through and surged to a 4-2 win at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park.

The victory earned the Panthers second place in the SOC.

Senior midfielder Ethan Wallenberg had a goal and a nifty assist to Damian Rasmussen in the flurry. Sophomore Pat Lower ended the rally with a goal in the 58th minute, putting the Panthers up 3-2.

It (South's offense) finally clicked, said Wallenberg. We picked up the pace in the second half and that helped. It was frustrating for a while.

South trailed 2-1 at halftime and hadn't made much headway until Wallenberg scored from 6 yards out on a ricochet after a corner kick in the 52nd minute.

Five minutes later, Wallenberg split two Klamath Union defenders with a left-footed pass to Rasmussen, who chipped the ball over goalkeeper Daniel Gailis' head and into the net.

South's third goal in six minutes came when Lower booted what South Medford coach Dave Potter called a Lower stutter scissors kick into the goal from 10 yards out.

He is the only guy I know who can do that move, said Potter. He drives me nuts with it because it's not done very fast because of the stutter-step move, but it works for him.

It's only the second time I've seen a goalkeeper laid out after being faked out by an offensive player, said Potter.

The Panthers will visit the No. 2 team from the Portland Interscholastic League in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs Nov. 6.

South Medford has a 9-4-1 season record.

We're playing our best soccer right now, said Potter. In soccer, you never know what might happen. We're capable of going a long way in the playoffs.

If we keep playing like this, we can beat anybody, said Rasmussen. We're passing the ball better and better and moving down the field as a unit.

If the snowball continues, we could win it (the state championship), said Rasmussen.

South scored only 13 goals in its first nine games but has tallied 17 in its last four.

Klamath Union took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first half on direct kicks by Luis Garcia and Andy Zaiger. Between them, South's Ben Buchta had a shot deflected by Gailis, only to see Rasmussen rebound it in.

We had a lot of chances in the first half, and we decided we didn't want to have to be in two league playoff games to get to state, said Wallenberg. That's what would have happened if we had lost.

SOC boys soccer

FINAL STANDINGS

*

W*

L*

Pct.*

GB*

x-Ashland*

7*

0*

1.000*

--*

x-South Medford*

5*

2*

.714*

2*

x-Klamath Union*

5*

2*

.714*

2*

x-Roseburg*

4*

3*

.571*

3*

North Medford*

4*

3*

.571*

3*

Grants Pass*

2*

5*

.286*

4*

Crater*

1*

6*

.143*

6*

Eagle Point*

0*

7*

.000*

7*

x-denotes playoff teams

TUESDAY'S RESULTS

Ashland 11, Eagle Point 0

South Medford 4, Klamath Union 2

North Medford 3, Grants Pass 2, shootout

Roseburg 3, Crater 1

Pat Lower of South Medford, left, scores and celebrates with Corey Parks. It was the Panthers' final goal in a 4-2 win over Klamath Union. - Photo by Jim Craven