PREP SOCCER: North rallies to claim win over South
Facing a 1-0 halftime deficit Saturday, the North Medford boys soccer team faced a choice: respond or risk suffering a second straight loss.
The Black Tornado did the former.
Thanks to second-half goals from seniors Gustavo Lara and Robert Valencia, North Medford was able to claim a 2-1 comeback win over South Medford at Spiegelberg Stadium.
Valencia’s game-winning goal came with less than four minutes remaining, as North (2-1) jumped on a South turnover and hit the Panthers on the counter. Braden Byrd provided a through ball to his right to Valencia, who did the rest and slotted it home at the far post.
“I think in the first half we were just kind of dragging,” North Medford head coach Michael Belzberg said. “It was an eye-opener for our guys, and the seniors rallied at halftime. They pushed the team and left it on the field.”
South Medford (1-2-1) opened the scoring 30 minutes in when freshman midfielder Kyle Denn was on the receiving end of a Ricky Esparza pass after some tight dribbling allowed him to evade a pair of North defenders. On his first touch, Denn hit a left-footed shot from just outside of the box and just beat the diving keeper at the far post.
Lara tied the game in the 60th minute on a free kick from 25 yards out. From nearly a straight-on angle, Lara struck the ball as well as he could have with his left foot with virtually no time for the wall or goalkeeper to react.
“It’s just a huge show of heart,” Belzberg said of his team’s comeback. “We’ve had a hard week and these guys are overcoming all of the challenges coming their way. They played with a lot of heart in the second half.”
GRANTS PASS 1, ROSEBURG 0: At Grants Pass, sophomore Pedro Gonzalez made the most of his first varsity game, scoring the game’s lone goal to help lift Grants Pass to its second straight victory.
Fresh off the JV group, Gonzalez capitalized on a nice 3-on-2 situation spearheaded by Kenley Sheard and Elijah Leach, who eventually worked the ball to Gonzalez and watched him rip a shot in the corner of the net out of the reach of Roseburg’s goalkeeper.
Scott Huddleston held down the goal in the first half and Jacob Moss took over in the second half to help the Cavemen (2-2-1) record their second straight shutout.
NORTH BEND 3, ST. MARY’S 0: St. Mary’s senior standout Will Kranenburg was steady in holding down the midfield for the Crusaders but a pair of defensive miscues and a deflected header proved costly at U.S. Cellular.
North Bend applied a strong attack and was physical on the defensive end to keep St. Mary’s (2-2) from registering a goal.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 9, ROGUE RIVER 0: Cascade Christian made quick work of Rogue River, with the game ending after only one half of play, thanks to a solid group effort at U.S. Cellular.
Jonny McCoy had three goals and three assists, Michael Melvin had two goals and two assists and the Challengers (3-0) put up a defensive barricade and did not allow a shot on goal by Rogue River (0-3).
Levi Sciapiti opened the scoring with a goal inside the first 30 seconds after heading in a cross by McCoy, and later added an assist. The first of two goals by Ryan Crowl soon followed, and then Levi Marincus got into the action after running onto a perfectly placed through ball by Melvin.
Rules put in place this season due to COVID protocols allow for a mercy rule after a team is eight goals ahead, with the addendum that one half must be completed.
ASHLAND 0, CRATER 0: At Ashland, neither team could break through against the other’s defense in the stalemate.
Crater got stout play from its defensive back line of freshmen Mary Nadauld, Maddy Ritchey and Kelsey Sakraida.
Ashland’s record moved to 2-1-1, while Crater went to 2-0-1.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 4, LAKEVIEW 3: At Lakeview, Cascade Christian shrugged off a three-goal deficit with the help of a flurry of second-half scores to earn the comeback victory.
Trailing 3-0, the Challengers finally broke through when Ellie Vanlandingham scored on a breakaway down the left side in the 35th minute.
In the 45th minute, Katelyn Willard helped Cascade Christian (2-1-1) trim its deficit with a breakaway of her own down the center of the field. Eight minutes later, Vanlandingham tied the match with another strong run down the right side.
The go-ahead goal was provided by Autumn Murray in the 71st minute when she gathered a deflection off a Lakeview player and redirected the ball into the goal.
NORTH BEND 2, ST. MARY’S 1: At North Bend, a looping North Bend free kick over the wall with four minutes to go proved to be the difference as St. Mary’s suffered its first loss of the season.
The Crusaders (3-1) fell behind 1-0 in the sixth minute, but tied the game four minutes later on Sophia Dobry’s unassisted goal.
St. Mary’s Morgan Dole and Elise Fernandes also had multiple scoring chances, but were unable to covert.