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North Medford soccer girls top Summit

Halley Folsom recorded a hat trick and the North Medford defense came up big during a 5-3 girls soccer victory over defending Class 5A state champion Summit at U.S. Cellular Community Park on Saturday.

Folsom, a senior forward, knocked in goals in the 16th, 41st and 74th minutes for the 6A Black Tornado, which improved to 2-0-2 as it wrapped up its nonleague schedule.

Backing her up all day was the determined defensive line of Sarah Thomas, Mo Cowan, Sydney Thomas and Michala Denn. As Summit battled desperately to get back into the match late, the quartet went into lockdown mode.

“The reality is our team is built on defense and our defense is what is driving our success currently,” North Medford coach Jeff Thomas said. “Those girls are the heart and soul of the team. As a young team, they are allowing us to make mistakes because they can clean up those mistakes for us.”

Summit (1-2-1) got a jump on the scoring with a goal in the 11th minute.

Folsom answered five minutes later by blasting in a shot from 7 yards out after a pass from Sydney Thomas.

The Storm — which beat Wilson, 4-2, in last year’s state final — capitalized on a North breakdown to take a 2-1 lead in the 31st.

The Black Tornado’s Bailey O’Connor rocketed a hair-raising goal from 18 yards out into a back corner of the net in the 38th. Sydney Thomas came through with the assist that helped even the score at 2.

Folsom broke the tie one minute into the second half using a through ball from Ashley Parker. Her shot was sent from 12 yards out. Parker, playing attacking center midfielder, beat a pair of defenders and launched in a tough shot from 15 yards away in the 54th, providing the Black Tornado with a 4-2 advantage.

Summit wasn’t done yet — it scored once more to trim its deficit to one in the 56th.

“Summit is an unbelievable team,” Thomas said. “They will compete again for a 5A championship.”

Enter Folsom, whose hat trick was secured in the 74th after she lost the ball, recovered it and then scored from around the 15-yard line.

It was then up to the North defense to come through, and the unit delivered, Thomas said.

“They are the backbone of the team,” Thomas said. “They are seasoned players who don’t panic.”

North goalkeeper Hayley Haas was strong in a complete-match effort.

“She had two huge saves,” Thomas said. “On one she came out and took the ball off the foot of their striker at the 18.”

The Black Tornado will open Southwest Conference play by hosting Grants Pass on Tuesday.

“We are a team that grinds,” Thomas said. “We are ready for league play ... we’re just hoping to continue to grow as the season progresses.”

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt

North Medford's Madi Morgan, left, and Halley Folsom, celebrate after a goal by Folsom in the second half. MAIL TRIBUNE / JAMIE LUSCH
North Medford's Ashley Parker takes a shot and scores against Summit in the second half at U.S Cellular Saturday. MAIL TRIBUNE / JAMIE LUSCH