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PREP SOCCER: South girls overtake North

It took awhile for the South Medford girls to adjust to their surroundings — specifically a grass soccer field — but when they did, the Panthers emerged with a 2-1 Southwest Conference victory over North Medford Tuesday.

The match was at North Medford’s field, the only time this fall South Medford is scheduled to play on a natural surface, said head coach Katie Watson.

The Panthers trailed 1-0 at halftime, then rallied.

“We had more energy and we were working the ball around better in the second half,” said Watson. “We had to get used to the grass. It just makes a big difference. The ball rolls differently. They (Panthers) adjusted well.”

Watson took over head coaching duties a couple weeks ago when Kendra McMillen stepped away for personal reasons, said Watson. McMillen was SWC coach of the year last season after leading South Medford to the league title.

The win over North Medford improved the Panthers to 3-5-1 overall and 3-2 in conference. The Black Tornado is 5-4 and 2-3.

The match started squarely in North Medford’s favor, when Taylor Denn scored before some fans had a chance to settle into their seats.

Skylar Artale’s throw-in to the middle of the 18-yard box was lightly deflected by Black Tornado teammate Sophie Elam to Denn, who deposited it into the goal.

“We controlled the first half,” said North Medford coach Patrick Mangan. “We were easily the better team in the first half. In the second half, we came out and I don’t know what happened. We fell flat. We did not play well and they were able to capitalize on it.”

Heather Ramirez dribbled up the left side and eased a left-footed shot to the far post to put South Medford on the scoreboard four minutes into the second half.

In the 52nd minute, defender Mikayla Titus took a corner kick from in front of the goal and, in the midst of a crowd of players, ushered the ball into the goal, making it 2-1.

“She just kind of followed through with it,” said Watson. “Her body just kind of pushed it through to the goal.”

That it was a close contest did not surprise Watson.

“It’s always a good, tight game against them,” she said. “I’m really proud of the girls for staying focused going into the second half and being down. They did a really good job of approaching the second half.”

She credited defenders Rylie Michael and Calista Follett for solid play. Michael was particularly effective as a center midfielder, and Follett provided a lift off the bench.

“North was pressing us hard at the very end,” said Watson. “We held our ground and made sure we did what we needed to get the win, so it was a really good effort.”

North Medford wasn’t as crisp in the second half, missing passes and losing on 50-50 balls, said Mangan.

“We weren’t moving the ball and there was a lot of standing going on,” he said. “When you play a decent team and don’t do what you need to do, they capitalize on it.”

GRANTS PASS 1, ROSEBURG 0: At Roseburg, Tatianna Ross’ goal in the 63rd minute lifted Grants Pass to the Southwest Conference victory.

Ross’ goal finally got Grants Pass (3-4-2, 2-3) on the board, despite many early opportunities.

Grants Pass is tied with North Medford for fourth in the conference, one game back of South Medford for third.

Roseburg (2-7, 0-5) remains in last place.

ASHLAND 8, EAGLE POINT 0: At Ashland, Mary Wilson, one of a number of seniors who got in on the scoring act on Ashland’s Senior Night, had a goal and five assists in the Midwestern League contest.

Ashland is 5-3-2 overall and 2-2 in league. Eagle Point dropped to 0-9 and 0-4.

Makenna Page notched two goals for the Grizzlies, and Mya Holzshu had a goal and an assist.

Ashland’s first score was an own goal. The other tallies were by Hayden LaCoste, Luna Wilhelm and Maya Lackey.

Boys

NORTH MEDFORD 2, SOUTH MEDFORD 1: North Medford junior Braden Byrd rallied his team from a 1-0 second-half deficit with a pair of free kick goals to deny host South Medford in Southwest Conference action.

South Medford (5-4, 2-3 SWC) was able to strike first in the 54th minute after a scoreless first half when Severine Warren found the net off an assist from fellow senior Kam Calhoun.

North Medford (4-3-2, 2-2-1) answered in the 70th min when it earned a penalty kick and Byrd stepped up to notch the game-tying effort past junior goalkeeper Jude Pannell.

Two minutes later, Byrd scored the game-winner when he ripped a 20-yard free kick just past Pannell’s grasp.

GRANTS PASS 3, ROSEBURG 2: At Grants Pass, Gage Berkey, Zach Olson and David Ruiz each scored for host Grants Pass but the Southwest Conference win did not come easy. The Cavemen had to fend off Roseburg’s bid to tie the game during a nerve-wracking final 15 minutes.

Berkey scored in the 19th minute off an assist by Trevor Park, but Roseburg’s Jayden Bangs scored in the 38th minute to send the match tied at 1-all into halftime.

In the 42nd minute, Cade Anderson set up Olson for an 18-yard shot into the corner of the net for Grants Pass (4-3-2, 3-1-1 SWC) and six minutes later Ruiz scored on a diving header following a crossing pass by Park.

Tyson Bustamante’s penalty kick goal for Roseburg (0-8-1, 0-5) made it 3-2 with 15 minutes to play.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth’s Drew Hampson, left, and North’s Sophie Elam (7) collide going for the ball off a corner kick during the 2nd half.