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Tornado blows past Comets

Toward the end of his speech, North Medford head soccer coach Rich Garcia delivered a simple statement to his team before its match on Tuesday.

"I told them we just have to go out and win this game," the coach said. "It was as simple as that."

The message came through loud and clear.

Freshman forward Amanda Hisey scored a hat trick as the Black Tornado used miserly defense and the smooth play of center midfielder Sarah Chambers to blank Crater, 5-0, at Hoffbuhr Field.

North entered the match searching for its first win of the year and hungry for points after being shut out in both its losses.

"It's always good to start off with a bang," Chambers said. "After the losses, we wanted to just prove to ourselves that we are going to be a good team this year. Our plan was to win the ball in the air and be aggressive to the ball. I think we definitely did that."

Kimmy Parker found Hisey for a score 10 minutes into the match, which was the Black Tornado's home opener. Five minutes later, Chambers spotted and passed to Becca Allen, whose goal put North ahead 2-0 in the Southern Oregon Hybrid contest.

Hisey scored her second goal on a Hayley Peterson assist in the 48th minute, and Ashlee McFall booted in a goal on a Chambers assist in the 57th minute. About five minutes later, North took advantage of a corner kick when Amber Black directed the ball to Hisey after McFall sent it in their direction.

Hisey, the only ninth-grader on the team, said getting the three goals was rewarding, and relieving.

"I was nervous coming in since I've been getting used to a lot of new things," Hisey said. "A lot of my friends I played with in kindergarten are on the JV team, so it was really nerve-racking."

Defenders Kendra Straub, Michelle Benitez and Alesha Major ran a devastatingly effective shift, limiting the Comets for most of the contest. Crater (1-3, 1-1 SOH) concluded with five shots, while the Black Tornado (1-2-1, 1-1 SOH) had 17.

All the while, Chambers played pitch point guard, directing the on-field show with dizzying diagonal passes, dazzling defensive assists and daring offensive contributions.

"It wasn't so much (North's) defense," Crater head coach Ed Lindbloom said. "It had to do a lot with Sarah Chambers. When she came out, that is when we started to finally be able to compete. When she is in there, she controls the flow of the game so much it makes it hard to compete."

Chambers, a junior who has played all over the field during the course of her career, said she's growing comfortable in her latest role.

"I've had to get used to controlling the ball and getting it from one side and switching it to the other," Chambers said.

Crater beat Grants Pass, 1-0, on Saturday, giving Garcia all the more reason to emphasize the importance of Tuesday's match.

"I knew we had to be ready to go today, and the girls were," he said.

Crater goalkeeper Sierra Bitterling made several daring saves, while McKensey Peters and Amanda Tonkin split time between the pipes for North.

"North played really well," Lindbloom said. "They are bigger, they are faster. I think, coming up to 6A, we are still learning how to compete. You could see that we had spurts where we did compete, but we still haven't grasped the concept that we can compete all the time instead of in spurts."

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail djones@mailtribune.com

Crater's Amber Parker (7) hits a header during a game against North Medford on Tuesday. - Julia Moore