PREP SOCCER: Denn helps lift North over Cavers
GRANTS PASS — North Medford junior Taylor Denn supplied her team all the offense it would need and freshman goalkeeper Katelynn Balsiger came up huge in the latter stages to secure a 1-0 win in Southwest Conference girls soccer Tuesday.
In the 20th minute, Denn converted a free kick from about 25 yards out for the game’s lone goal. It was her second free kick goal of the season for the Black Tornado (3-2, 1-1 SWC).
“She’s just playing amazing,” said North Medford head coach Patrick Mangan of Denn. “She stepped up to it, cracked it with the inside of her foot to the far side of the post and the goalie got a break on it but she still couldn’t get to it.”
In the final 10 seconds, Balsiger helped clinch the win over Grants Pass (2-2-1, 1-1) when she came out on a breakaway by GP and made a sliding tackle to deflect the ball out just prior to the final whistle. Before that, she helped keep a clean sheet despite a lot of late pressure by the Cavers.
“The last three minutes they had four corner kicks in a row, we just could not get the ball out,” said Mangan. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
Sophomore Kira Pyka was instrumental for North with her distribution and countless interceptions from midfield, along with Denn and senior Brooklyn Snow.
SOUTH EUGENE 4, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: South Eugene scored twice in each half and pushed its streak of not allowing a goal to start the season to five games in the Southwest Conference match at South Medford High.
The Panthers (0-5-1, 0-2 SWC) struggled to get scoring opportunities, according to head coach Kendra McMillen, against the Axe (4-0-1, 2-0).
ASHLAND 4, ST. MARY’S 0: At Ashland, senior Mya Holzshu scored two goals for Ashland, which tallied twice in the first five minutes to put St. Mary’s on its heels in nonconference action at North Mountain Park.
Ashland sophomore Luna Wilhelm and senior Mary Wilson also scored for the Grizzlies (4-1-2), who had been struggling to get off to quality starts in matches but made a concerted effort to do so against the Crusaders.
Sophomore goalkeeper Zadi Burke came up with four saves to earn the shutout against St. Mary’s (2-3).
GRANTS PASS 3, NORTH MEDFORD 0: Gage Berkey and Zach Olson each had a goal and an assist for Grants Pass and junior goalkeeper Scott Huddleston came up with six saves to deny North Medford in Southwest Conference action.
David Ruiz scored in the seventh minute off an assist by Berkey for the lone goal of the first half. The Cavemen (3-2-1, 2-0 SWC) quickly doubled their advantage with a goal in the 41st minute by Berkey off an Olson cross, and closed out the scoring in the 65th minute when Olson scored off an assist from Trevor Park.
The Black Tornado dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in league.