Surging Pirates secure Skyline's top seed
Phoenix completed its comeback from a slow start to the season when it defeat Klamath Union, 2-0, Monday at U.S. Cellular Community Park, earning the Skyline Conference's No. 1 seed to the Class 4A postseason.
The two tied for the conference regular-season title with 8-2 records, necessitating the playoff.
Monday's victory was the eighth straight for the Pirates, who began the league campaign losing two of its first three games.
Phoenix (10-3-1) will try to make it nine wins in a row in a state play-in contest against visiting Coquille at 4 p.m. Thursday at U.S. Cellular.
"We're improving at the right time," said Phoenix coach Dennis Flenner. "We came from the bottom of the league to become co-champions and we wanted to mark our turf, and we did."
Against Klamath Union, Omar Iboa received a pass from Alex Vela and netted his team-leading 16th goal of the season in the 18th minute for the Pirates.
Desi Hernandez added a second-half insurance goal off a steal. From 25 yards, Hernandez bent the ball down into the net.
The Pirate defense was buoyed by sweeper Junior Esqueda and goalkeeper Roberto Cook, who made four saves and helped deal the Pelicans their first shutout of the season.
MEDFORD TEAMS LOSE — At Salem, Medford's boys and girls water polo teams went winless in the pool during the Southern Conference tournament at the KROC Center Friday and Saturday.
The boys fell to Sheldon 19-9 and West Salem 17-5 but earned a forfeit win over Sprague.
The girls lost to Redmond 19-4, West Salem 14-3 and Sheldon 15-3.
For the boys, John Walker had five goals, Calvin Buccholz four and Drew Keppel two. Geoffrey Pine made 14 saves.
For the girls, Jenna Cooper scored six goals, Carly Freda three and Rayna Zohar two. Anne Walker made 44 saves in goal.
Cooper, Anne Walker and John Walker received honorable mention in all-tournament voting.