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Sunset slips by South in second round

PORTLAND — South Medford worked to dig itself out of an early hole but to no avail Wednesday as the Panthers came up short in their upset bid with a 2-1 loss to third-seeded Sunset in the second round of the Class 6A girls soccer state playoffs.

Sunset (12-2-2) built a 2-0 advantage with goals in the 20th and 30th minutes but 14th-seeded South Medford (9-5-2) remained undeterred thanks to a handful of scoring opportunities that were barely turned away in the opening half.

“You could look all the girls in the eyes and still believe we could get a result despite being down 2-0,” said Panthers head coach Chris Hollewijn. “It’s a tough situation to be in, especially against a talented team like Sunset, but the girls in the second half showed so much character. We were all over them in the second half.”

South Medford finally broke through in the 56th minute when sophomore Chloe Alvarez spun away from a defender and locked in on senior Montana Logue closing toward the goal from the left side. Alvarez sent a pass through a pair of defenders that Logue got a clean touch on and then with her left foot was able to slot a shot into the right corner of the net.

The Panthers continued to challenge in a back-and-forth battle with the Apollos but were unable to net an equalizer to force an end to their season

“We had chances and they had chances,” said Hollewijn. “Credit to them, they’re a very good team. At times I think we had them on the ropes in the second half and it could’ve been anyone’s game. I’m just really proud of the effort of the girls.”

Senior McKenzie Kapp came up with a handful of key saves for South Medford, while freshman defender Baylee Smith came up with a sliding goal-line save on another Sunset shot.

HOOD RIVER VALLEY 1, ASHLAND 0, SO: Ashland and Hood River Valley remained tied in a shootout with three goals apiece through five penalty kicks but the Grizzlies were unable to net a shot in the sudden-death sixth round and the Eagles converted to settle the Class 5A first round match, 4-3 on PKs.

Mya Elder-Hammond, Ia Balbuena and Calysta Susu-Mago each scored on their penalty kicks for Ashland (9-2-4), which went first and missed its second and fifth shots. Hood River (9-4-2) was turned away by Grizzlies goalkeeper Berkeley Skuratowicz on its first and third penalty kicks.

Ashland had several good scoring opportunities in the 80 minute regulation as well as the two 10-minute overtime sessions but Hood River’s goalie fared well to keep a clean sheet.

ST. MARY’S 5, RIVERSIDE 0: St. Mary’s stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes of the first round game at U.S. Cellular and won going away to advance in the Class 3A/2A/1A state playoffs.

The fifth-seeded Crusaders (13-2-1) will play at No. 4 seed Blanchet Catholic (13-1-1) in the quarterfinal round Saturday.

MaryBeth Barnum scored off a cross by Ellie Hough in the second minute and Ibixia Alvarez’s 20-yard shot off a pass from Sara Klott made it 2-0 in the sixth minute. In the 10th minute, Emily Elmore’s side volley off a cross by Gabi Castillo capped the early surge.

Klott added a goal in the 50th minute and Elmore assisted a goal by Anna Peterson in the second half. Emily Riehlman secured the shutout in goal.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, DAYTON 0: At Dayton, junior midfielder Erika Worthington scored the go-ahead goal in the 77th minute for 10th-seeded Cascade Christian during the first round of the Class 3A/2A/1A state playoffs at Dayton High.

She knocked in the game-winner from 12 yards out after battling past several defenders.

Emily Stephens proved key in the midfield, while Baylee Plankenhorn was strong on defense and Audrey Quast earned the shutout in goal against No. 7 Dayton (10-2-3).

The Challengers (10-6) will next play at Catlin Gabel (12-2-1) in the quarterfinals Saturday.