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North Medford holds off Jesuit in soccer playoffs

BEAVERTON — With North Medford clinging to a 1-0 lead late in the match, goalkeeper Hayley Haas made a tremendous save to help the Black Tornado advance in the girls Class 6A state soccer playoffs Tuesday against Jesuit.

North Medford had to withstand an aggressive onslaught in the final minutes to preserve the 1-0 victory and advance to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1998.

The Black Tornado (10-2-4), the Southwest Conference runner-up, will host Forest Grove in the quarterfinals Tuesday. Forest Grove entered the playoffs as the 31st seed out of 32 teams, then recorded shootout victories over South Medford and Wilson to advance.

North Medford and Jesuit (10-4-2), the No. 2 team from the Metro League, played to a scoreless first half.

In the 68th minute, North Medford’s Sydney Thomas took a header from senior Bailey O’Connor, brought the ball to her feet, got by two Jesuit defenders and beat the Crusader keeper for the what proved to be the game-winner.

“It was unbelievable,” said North Medford first-year coach Jeff Thomas. “(Sydney Thomas) was patient, juked the goalie and tucked the ball into the back of the net.”

Haas, who stopped an earlier one-on-one threat, made the pivotal save on a free kick from about 33 yards out with 41⁄2 minutes remaining.

“She rose up, got her hand on it and pushed it aside,” said coach Thomas. “It saved our season.”

“When we scored, Jesuit stepped it up and put a tremendous amount of pressure on our team,” Thomas added. “We defended our guts out.”

North Medford had to thwart six corner kicks late in the match.

The Black Tornado coach had praise for his defensive unit led by Megan Cowan, Sarah Thomas, Ashley Parker and Michala Denn.

“The character of our team showed today,” said Jeff Thomas. “The kids believed they could win and played way above the expectations.”

ASHLAND 3, CORVALLIS 2: At Corvallis, Facie Graham scored the go-ahead goal then assisted on the game-winner by Jessica Harrower as Ashland registered it’s first playoff win in six years.

The Grizzlies (11-3-1), 10th-seeded, will play at No. 2 Bend (13-1-2) in the 5A quarterfinals Saturday. Bend advanced with a 4-1 victory over Springfield.

Ashland took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute when Samantha Lilley scored from close range after Mya Elder-Hammond raced down the sideline before dishing off.

Graham scored in the 53rd minute to give Ashland a 2-1 lead.

Corvallis came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to tie the game each time.

Harrower converted the decisive goal in the 74th minute. Graham dribbled past three defenders to set up the winning shot.

PUTNAM 4, CRATER 0: At Milwaukie, junior Katie Niedermeyer kept the Crater defense cohesive against the state’s No. 1 5A team at Rex Putnam High.

Putnam (11-2-2), the champion of the Northwest Oregon Conference, led 3-0 at halftime.

The Comets (5-9-1) played well against the Kingsmen but couldn’t mount a sustained attack and were limited to two shots on goal.

Sophomore McKinsey Scharf also played well for the Comets on the defensive end.

SISTERS 6, NORTH VALLEY 0: At Sisters, Molly Boyle scored a hat trick for the state’s No. 1-ranked 4A school.

Sisters (12-3) will host Gladstone in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

The Outlaws jumped on North Valley (7-9) from the outset and Knights did not respond to the pressure.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 2, BLANCHET CATHOLIC 0: At Salem, Jenna Worthington’s goal broke a scoreless tie four minutes into the second half at Blanchet High and propelled Cascade Christian (11-3) into the quarterfinals of the 3A/2A/1A playoffs.

The Challengers (11-3) will play District 5 rival and second-ranked St. Mary’s (13-0) Saturday. Cascade Christian lost a pair of league matches to St. Mary’s, 6-1 and 3-0.

Worthington blocked a clearance attempt in Blanchet’s end, got possession of the rebound and put the ball in the roof of the net from 20 yards away.

The Challengers tacked on an insurance goal in the 75th minute. Freshman Baylee Plankenhorn got her foot on the ball in scramble in front of the net and converted off a corner kick by Makenzie Hickman.

The Cascade Christian back line of Marissa Barlow, Jillian Emard and Amanda Armas helped shut down the Blanchet (12-3-1) attack.