PREP SOCCER: Phoenix boys fall short in title match
SUTHERLIN — The Phoenix boys soccer team has put forth a prolific scoring attack this spring season, but the Pirates found a nearly impenetrable wall in Stayton during Saturday’s championship match of the Class 4A Elite Eight Showcase, falling 4-1.
“That was a tough go of it for us,” said Phoenix coach Chris Gallegos. “They were by far the best team we’ve played. Hat’s off to them for sure.”
“State finals are tough things to win,” he added. “Like I told the kids afterward, there’s only so many kids to get to this level and get to this game over the years and you’re one of them.”
The Pirates (10-2) entered the season finale having scored 50 goals to only three allowed but, try as they might, couldn’t muster the same goal-scoring knack against the Eagles, who had allowed only four goals all year with eight shutouts.
“They just did well packing in the back,” said Gallegos. “Sometimes I’d look back there and there were six guys dropping in to help. They did well keeping us at bay, and we just couldn’t get our feet under ourselves fast enough.”
Stayton built a 2-0 advantage 26 minutes into the match, then used a penalty kick after a foul in the box to create a 3-0 cushion by halftime.
After some back-and-forth action to open the second half, the Eagles (12-0) made it 4-0 on a header into the net with 25 minutes to play.
Victor Martinez finally broke the drought for Phoenix on a penalty kick with 7 1/2 minutes to play, but the Pirates were stymied thereafter.
“He broke through and the kid kind of hacked him down to set that up,” said Gallegos. “Then we had them on their heels but it was a little too late to do too much. I have to give it to the kids, they didn’t give up. All the way to the end they were just go, go, go, go.”
Gallegos called it a learning experience for all those who return, and credited senior defender Dan Martinez for his efforts.
“He clamped down the best he could trying to clean up messes in the back,” said the coach.
ASHLAND 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: At Ashland, three players got in on the scoring and defense was supreme as Ashland captured the Southern Oregon Conference championship.
The Grizzlies, the top seeds in the season-ending tournament, finished with a 9-1-1 record. South Medford, the third seed, went 7-3-2.
Julian Hull gave Ashland all the scoring it would need with a goal in the ninth minute. He scored after recovering a free kick by Carson Pindell that caromed off a post.
Sean Poareo Davidson’s score in the 23rd minute made it 2-0, and it stayed that way through the half.
Michael Holden finished the scoring in the 53rd minute after taking a through ball from Mario Jacobson.
Grizzly goalkeeper Gabe Giancarlo made three crucial saves in the second half, and his defensive mates — Davidson, Holden, Kai Larson, Rio Giancarlo and Cedric Huston — proved dominant.
Kona Makai provided a spark in the midfield for Ashland.
South Medford, as it has been all season, was led by seniors Jude Pannell, Peyton Terry and Ricky Esparza.
NORTH MEDFORD 2, GRANTS PASS 1, SO: North Medford wrapped up its season with a two-match winning streak, defeating Grans Pass in the consolation round of the Southern Oregon Conference playoffs by making all five shootout kicks.
The Black Tornado (7-3-1) sealed the win on Daniel Pineda’s kick after Grants Pass missed high on its third shootout attempt. It was North Medford’s second shootout in three games, having lost to Crater in one to open the playoffs.
The Cavemen grabbed the early lead in the 10th minute of the match, then the Black Tornado tied it 20 minutes later. Zach Taylor was fouled in the 18-yard box and Ulysses Gomez converted the penalty kick to make it 1-1.
North Medford had several good shot opportunities in the second half but did not convert.
CRATER 2, ROSEBURG 0: At Central Point, Kayleigh Gugliotta broke a scoreless tie in the 44th minute and Allison Waters scored one minute later to lead Crater to a consolation win in the SOC playoffs.
Gugliotta’s goal came after Addison Vranes’ shot ricocheted off the goalkeeper, while Waters ran onto a perfectly placed ball by Ayden Wycoff to register her insurance goal for the Comets (7-3-2).
Teya Amidei posted three quality saves to earn a clean sheet in goal for Crater, which also benefited from a strong distribution game in the midfield by Emma Bohn.
ST. MARY’S 3, SANTIAM CHRISTIAN 1: At Sutherlin, St. Mary’s capped off a perfect 3-0 run in the Class 3A/2A/1A culminating week tournament with a comeback victory spurred by senior Sophia Dobry.
Playing on a neutral site at Sutherlin High School, Santiam Christian (7-2-1) took an early lead when a shot by Audrey Miller was bobbled due to slick conditions and slipped into the net in the seventh minute.
St. Mary’s (8-3) tied the match in the 31st minute on a Ryker Rothfus through ball that was gathered and deposited inside the far post by Elise Fernandes.
The Crusaders scored the go-ahead goal in the 44th minute when Dobry sent a soaring corner kick that was headed in by Samantha Gallardo.
In the 74th minute, St. Mary’s added some insurance on another assist for Dobry, who had hit the post minutes earlier and then saw another shot ricochet off the goalie and get cleaned up by Whitney West.