Grizzlies knocked out
Summit scored twice in the first 15 minutes and survived a last-minute header by Ashland’s most prolific goal-scorer for a 2-1 road victory in the first round of the OSAA Class 5A boys soccer state tournament Tuesday at Ashland Middle School.
Sophomore Scott Bundy tallied the first goal of the match only minutes into the round of 16 clash, and junior Mack Van Der Velde made it 2-0 in the 14th as the 11th-ranked Intermountain Conference runners-up jumped on the sixth-ranked Grizzlies out of the gate.
“Summit came out hard and they played great in the first 20 minutes,” Ashland co-head coach Brad Roupp said. “We played pretty well, but they were good and they were sneaky and they got two quick goals on us. And from there, it’s uphill. But our guys battled and battled.”
Ashland (9-4-1) cut the deficit in half on junior Bryce Rollins’ strike late in the opening frame but couldn’t deliver an equalizer in a scoreless second half.
The Grizzlies squandered several decent to good scoring opportunities in the final minutes. On perhaps the best of those, Ashland striker Stenley Graham was on the receiving end of a nice cross into the box but his header sailed high and to the right of the goal.
Summit (8-5-3), which has won three games in a row, including a play-in win over Milwaukie on Friday, advances to the state quarterfinals against third-ranked Hillsboro.
"You never know with a young group how they’re going to come out on the road," Summit coach Ron Kidder said. "I had no idea what to expect coming into this game. A win is great.”
Ashland says goodbye to four seniors who helped the Grizzlies win six games in a row late in the season and place second to Springfield in the Midwestern League.
The game was the first for the Grizzlies since they lost to Springfield on Oct. 24, a span of 10 days. Kidder said the much shorter, four-day layoff since his team’s last match worked in the Storm’s favor.
“For sure,” he said. “Fortunately, we’ve had a game for the playoffs so we’ve kind of experienced that. You saw (Ashland's) energy when they came out. It’s high energy, there’s a lot of nervousness on both sides. Usually, there’s a mistake that’s made that can result in a goal. So we knew that coming in.”
After the Grizzlies barely missed a chance to strike first in the opening minute Summit didn’t let its first opportunity go to waste about six minutes later. Mateo Fluhmann began the impressive combination by playing the ball to Ragnar Schmidt, who headed it back to Fluhmann down the side. Fluhmann then delivered a perfect lob pass to Bundy, who scored.
About seven minutes later the Storm struck again when Van Der Velde capped a wild scramble in the box by finally pushing a shot into the left front corner of the net.
The Grizzlies got within striking distance in the 33rd minute when Rollins took a center pass from Declan Hinkley and beat the keeper with a low shot that scooted out of the keeper’s grasp.
Summit controlled the battle for possession in the second half but the Grizzlies did create a few good opportunities. On one, in about the 60th minute, Rollins took a lead pass and beat a defender before taking off toward the goal for a potential breakaway shot but was caught in the box from behind by a Summit defender and was sent off with a yellow card after both players tumbled to the turf.
“We thought we’d get another one late, but it didn’t happen,” Roupp said. “Summit’s a good team. They had good defense and they worked us some and we worked them some. But I was very proud of our boys. I thought that we fought the entire game, we stayed within ourselves and played a good game that we can be proud of. You don’t always win those games, but I’m proud.”
Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or email@example.com.