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Graham, Grizzlies burn Comets

Stenley Graham continues to light up opposing defenses for the Ashland High boys soccer team.

The senior forward proved difficult to handle again Tuesday, scoring two goals to lead Ashland to a 3-0 nonleague victory over Crater at North Mountain Park.

After a scoreless first half Graham broke through early in the second, dribbling the ball down the right side before firing a bullet near post that was all net.

“He made the net wave,” Ashland head coach Abdi Guled said.

That gave Ashland the only goal it would need in the 47th minute, but Graham added an almost identical insurance goal five minutes later. This time, the speedy Graham, who took last season off to play football, dribbled to the box again but instead let fly a low liner.

Ashland freshman Bowie Brandao scored the final goal for Ashland, sprinting down the weak side and finishing with an inside-foot laser.

Ashland and Crater both compete in the Midwestern League, but Tuesday’s game did not count in the league standings. The Grizzlies improved to 3-1-1, while the Comets, who have scored one goal all season, fell to 0-6.

“He’s got some skills,” Guled said of Graham. “He got faster (since last year), his ball touch is great and his leadership is outstanding. He’s so quick and his shot is very hard.”

It doesn’t hurt that Graham helps to keep the rest of his teammates in check.

“He’s one of the captains and, really, he’s the voice of the team,” Guled said. “He’s matured so much from (2013).”

Guled also gave credit to Ashland’s defense, which is surrendering, on average, one goal per game.

Aiden Locklin, Jade Boucher and San Inada stepped up, Guled said, as did Jahnoi Hall and Lars Filson.

“Those guys just played wonderful,” Guled said.

Ashland has two more nonleague tune-ups next week against South Medford and Eagle Point before its Midwestern opener Oct. 3 at North Eugene.

Guled says they have plenty of wrinkles to iron out before facing the Highlanders.

“I think we need more work,” he said. “Every nonleague game we can play helps for the chemistry of the team, so everybody at each position can feel comfortable.”

Women’s Volleyball

At Klamath Falls, Corynn Kopra had 17 kills to lead five Raiders in double figures as No. 8 Southern Oregon won the last two sets to survive Oregon Tech’s upset bid and keep its perfect record intact in a five-set Cascade Conference thriller Tuesday at Danny Miles Court.

The Raiders pulled it out, 20-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 15-10.

Nike Small and Tyana Andrews had 12 kills apiece and Emma Gasman and Laura Morse 10 for SOU (14-0, 7-0 CCC), which used a key 11-3 run in the fourth set and scored five of the first six points in the fifth. Also for the Raiders, Andrews had 16 digs, Kopra 12 and Lauren McGowne 53 assists and 11 digs.

Alexa Burdett led Oregon Tech with 15 kills and Whitney Webster had 13. Bella Foss led OIT with 23 digs.

Oregon Tech (9-4, 4-3) cut SOU’s lead to two points at 12-10 in the fifth, but the Raiders took advantage of a service error and an attack error by the Owls and clinched the match on a vicious spike by Andrews that painted the service line.

Girls Soccer

At Central Point, Ashland’s Samantha Lilley scored twice and three of her teammates also cashed in as the Grizzlies remained undefeated with a 5-1 nonleague win over Crater on Tuesday.

Hailee Hayes, Calysta Susu-Mago and Mya Elder-Hammond also scored for the Grizzlies, who improved to 4-0-3 overall.

Jordan Peterson’s 68th-minute tally was the lone goal for Crater (1-4-2).

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@dailytidings.com.