North too much for South
North Medford head boys soccer coach Dan Torrey could feel the nerves kicking in before his team's match on Tuesday.
Jesus Solorio, Garrett Byrd and the rest of the Black Tornado quickly helped put his mind at ease, though.
Solorio scored seven minutes into the match and Byrd added an early second-half goal as North topped South Medford, 2-0, at Spiegelberg Stadium.
First-year coach Torrey, a 2002 North Medford High graduate, was victorious in his debut in the cross-town rivalry. He was facing a familiar face in Dave Kaufman, the Panthers' head coach and one of Torrey's former mentors.
"I don't think I have ever been more nervous for a game before, so it was something else," said Torrey, who was coached by Kaufman as a member of the RVSC Mutiny and Southern Oregon Fuego. "It is always good to see Dave, and for those two hours, Dave and I admit we are enemies. After the game, it is back to being friends."
During the game, it was a war of wills.
Solorio took in a pass from Brandon Schoenmann and made several swift moves before making a shot early in the first half. The goal gave North a 1-0 lead.
"(Solorio) made a couple good moves like he does — he disguises his speed — and then ends up getting behind someone, and he's a brilliant finisher," Torrey said.
About four minutes into the second half, Byrd — a freshman midfielder — put in the dagger with a good give-and-go goal. Senior midfielder Cristobal Alcantar had the assist.
With the win, North improves to 3-2-1 overall and 2-1 in the Southern Oregon Hybrid.
"I think it wasn't a very fancy game but we just won," said Solorio, the team's leading scorer. "That is why we won. We showed who's better."
The Black Tornado had not defeated the Panthers since Oct. 16, 2007. North snapped a four-game losing streak against South.
"I was just waiting for this," said Solorio, a junior forward. "I am very happy for this."
North was coming off a frustrating 4-0 loss to Ashland on Saturday. Determined to rebound, the Black Tornado kept the Panthers at bay for most of the match.
"I feel that we did protect the ball really well," Torrey said. "We had a terrible game against Ashland, and so we really came out and played 100 percent better.
"They were strong all the way through. We didn't sub a whole lot, and our guys had to toughen it up and run for 60, 70, 80 minutes. I was extremely proud of them. I couldn't believe they kept that intensity up for 80 minutes."
South drops to 2-4-1 overall and 1-2 in SOH play.
"North did a good job of bringing high energy and they came ready to play," Kaufman said. "They outdid us in that department. Their intensity was good, but they also played very well."
Coaching against a former player is a pleasure, Kaufman added.
"I find a lot of joy in it, actually," he said. "For me, this is what the area is missing, some young coaches who played at a high level as kids and who are now transitioning into the coaching realm. That is really exciting."
Along with the exciting moments, there was a strange one. A duck flew around and landed on the field several times during the contest.
"I was just worried our guys were gonna be focused on the bird instead of the ball," Torrey said. "There's always something interesting that happens in a North-South game."
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail email@example.com