PREP ROUNDUP: Cota cashes in to give Ashland dramatic win
ASHLAND — Ashland’s boys soccer team needed nearly every bit of the 80 minutes on the clock to finally break through.
But once the Grizzlies did, it was all they needed.
Ashland freshman Cash Cota scored the game-winning goal with all of 17 seconds left before the final whistle sounded Tuesday night, giving the Grizzlies a hard-earned and thrilling, 1-0 win over North Medford at Walter A. Phillips Field.
“Cash just cashed the goal,” Ashland head coach Abdiaziz Guled said with a laugh.
Cota found himself open just inside the 18-yard box when he received a throw-in. Without hesitation, the young Grizzly fired it to the far post on his first touch and into the back of the net.
Three games into his high school career, Cota has recorded the game-winner in two of Ashland’s three wins this season, the first coming in 2-0 season-opening win over Roseburg.
“I coached him in basketball in middle school, so I knew he was an athletic kid,” Guled said. “He’s earned his spot in the midfield and as a striker as a freshman. I was worried a little about him as a freshman, but he’s shown that he’s got a good shot.”
Senior goalkeeper Gabe Giancarlo had three saves for Ashland (3-0), including one where he reached high to his right to keep North from taking a 1-0 lead of its own.
“I think tonight my team just showed up and weren’t knocked off their balance,” said Guled, who also complimented the defenders in front of Giancarlo — seniors Kai Larson and Michael Holden. “They worked hard and played their game.”
North Medford goalkeeper Mason Stanton made a pair of saves.
The Black Tornado fell to 1-1.
“This was a game that we both needed just to see where we both are,” Guled said. “North played a good match, and it could have gone either way. Last year, they tied us 3-3 at the last second, this year we got them at the last second. The teams we have here in the Rogue Valley, they know each other so well and they are good competition for each other.”
SOUTH MEDFORD 6, ROSEBURG 0: At Roseburg, Felix Valenzuela, Peyton Terry and Ricky Esparza each scored two goals as South Medford recorded its first victory to even its recond at 1-1-1.
The Panthers led 2-0 at halftime after an unassisted goal by the freshman Valenzuela in the 16th minute and one by Terry, in the 36th, following a free kick from freshman James Montaillier.
Terry scored again in the 56th, with Esparza assisting, then Esparza created his own shot and score in the 60th.
In the 67th, Esparza took a penalty kick that the goalie blocked, but the Panther senior gathered the carom and scored.
In the 77th, Valenzuela took a pass from the senior Terry and scored.
Freshman Eloy Saucedo came up big filling in on the defensive end after switching from offense.
GRANTS PASS 1, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, Grants Pass handed Eagle Point its first loss after two victories in a game dominated by fine defensive play.
The Cavemen tallied the lone goal in the 25th minute and made it stand up.
Grants Pass is 1-2-1.
ASHLAND 2, NORTH MEDFORD 0: Luna Wilhelm and Ini Hammond scored on each side of halftime and Bri Gibbs recorded a pair of assists as Ashland topped North Medford at Spiegelberg Stadium.
Ashland (2-1) opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Gibbs jumped on a North turnover and then laid the ball off to Wilhelm, who sent a looping shot in at the back post from the top of the 18-yard box.
Gibbs again played the role of provider for the Grizzlies’ second goal midway through the second half, taking the rebound off an attempted clearance and dishing it off to Hammond, who fired a left-footed shot home from 20 yards out.
The Grizzlies outshot the Black Tornado (0-2) 14-11.
Ashland goalkeeper Zadi Burke made a pair of key saves — one in each half, including a 1-on-1 opportunity in the second period.
SOUTH MEDFORD 8, ROSEBURG 0: Freshman Brooke Fairbanks scored two goals, her first of the season, and Isabelle Cruz ended the game on the mercy rule with goal in the 74th minute for South Medford.
The Panthers (3-0) led 4-0 at halftime, getting a score three minutes into the contest when senior Emily Ingledue gathered the ball after a corner kick and turned it into a goal.
Six minutes later, sophomore Caris Follett scored unassisted, and in the 14th, senior Mariah Delgado-Hachee powered in a shot from 6 yards out.
Fairbanks closed the scoring in the first half from 24 yards off a pass from junior Lily Kalina.
It took 26 minutes for another score, and sisters Bella Botero and Lexie Clark teamed up for it. The junior Botero rifled a corner kick that the sophomore Clark headed into the goal.
Botero got a goal of her own in the 66th, assisted by sophomore Alexandra Maukonen, and Fairbanks scored her second with an assist from Cruz — two minutes before Cruz ended it.
GRANTS PASS 3, EAGLE POINT 1: At Grants Pass, junior Makenna Maldonado scored Eagle Point’s goal in the 37th minute, making it 2-1, but Grants Pass registered an insurance goal in the second half.
The Eagles (0-3) got strong defense from freshman Alyssa Ortega, and sophomore right wing Raegan Hussey spearheaded the offensive attack.
SOUTH MEDFORD 3, CRATER 1: Senior middle hitter Evelyn Laupola recorded 15 kills, four blocks and three aces as host South Medford downed Crater, 27-25, 25-27, 25-18, 25-15, for its second straight win.
Sophomore Katie Clevenger also had 15 kills, while sophomore Baylee Davis chipped in 29 assists and six aces and senior Aubrey Millar had three kills and two blocks.
For Crater (1-1), sophomore Madison Kocina had five blocks and shared the team lead of seven kills with senior Kyrah Christensen. Senior Kylie Anderson amassed 20 digs, and sophomore Kate Stidham garnered 19 assists.
NORTH MEDFORD 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, senior Catherine Rostel led North Medford with 11 kills and 14 digs as the Black Tornado swept Eagle Point, 25-11, 25-11, 25-16.
North (1-1), coming off a loss to rival South Medford 24 hours earlier, controlled the match from the onset.
Rostel was the lone North player with a double-figure kill total, but led a balance offensive attack. Black Tornado junior Jackie Aukusitino recorded six kills and two digs.
Junior Pa’oa Payne-Kaeo, one of two North setters to see action, finished with four aces, 13 assists and three digs. North’s other setter, senior Hannah Drysdale, recorded 10 assists.
Senior Taryn Holmes finished with two aces and seven digs for North.
It was the opener for Eagle Point, which got two kills from junior Lily Bixler, six assists from senior Kierssa Hogan, three blocks from senior Hailey Burcham and nine digs from freshman Emma Kness.
ST. MARY’S 3, PROSPECT 0: At Prospect, senior Lucy Palmer served 10 straight points in the third set, including three aces, as St. Mary’s remained perfect at 3-0.
Palmer had six aces on the night for the Crusaders, who overcame a slow start in the first set.
Senior Ainsley Dunn led St. Mary’s with eight kills and sophomore Kelsey Dunn had six.
Freshman Emma Johnston’s 12 digs highlighted the Crusader defense, while sophomore Kaitlyn Hansen provided 18 assists and senior Abbie Christman notched five aces on 100% serving.