PREP SOCCER: North Medford rallies past Eagle Point
After falling behind early, the North Medford boys soccer team was in need of a spark Tuesday.
Senior captain William Gillock was more than happy to oblige.
Gillock scored a pair of goals — including what proved to be the game-winner late in the first half — to lead North Medford to a 3-1 comeback win over Eagle Point in nonleague action at Hoffbuhr Field.
“Will’s a senior captain and he understands the significance of getting results in the preseason,” North Medford head coach Michael Belzberg said. “These are the games that you have to get, and if you have a chance to win it then you have to win those close ones. Some of those games you know you’re not going to win because you’re outmatched, but we had a chance to win this one and Will stepped up and got it done. I think that’s senior leadership at its finest.”
Eagle Point (0-2), which was playing its first game in 13 days due to multiple cancellations, opened the scoring 10 minutes in on a fine individual effort by junior Gerardo Herrera, who was on the receiving end of a ball over the top of the defense from Edgar Lopez and chipped it over the onrushing goalkeeper with his first touch.
North (1-2) tied the game in the 19th minute when senior Ulysses Gomez jumped on a loose ball and one-timed it into the back of the net.
Three minutes before halftime, the Black Tornado provided one of their best sequences of the day, as Gillock and fellow senior Daniel Ortiz orchestrated a quick combination at midfield before the former was set off on the counterattack down the left wing. Gillock was able to get past his defender and then slot a shot under the left arm of Eagle Point goalkeeper Trenton Sliani to put North ahead 2-1.
Gillock didn’t wait long to get his second of the day, as he jumped on an Eagle Point backward pass that was slowed down in the grass and dribbled around the keeper before shooting into the open goal.
“I think we were a little sluggish to start,” Belzberg said. “We played Summit on Saturday, then we played Phoenix (on Monday), so we had two games in three days and then we had this game on the fourth day. I think the guys were tired and slow to get started. We conceded from sheer exhaustion and then picked our heads up and figured, ‘Hey, let’s play.’ Then they started playing really well and connecting. We got a couple of good opportunities and put them away.”
Gillock had a chance for the hat trick late in the game but was denied in a 1-on-1 situation by Silani.
North Medford goalkeeper Fernando Ortiz, who like Silani is just a sophomore, made five saves.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that are just starting on varsity defensively,” Belzberg said. “We gave up four (against Summit) and then five (against Phoenix) and then today we only gave one up, so I think that’s a better defensive performance and I think that we’re getting better. You start to get your feet underneath you as more games go on; you get more organized.”
HENLEY 2, CRATER 1: At Klamath Falls, Crater suffered a close loss to Henley in its first game back following a mandatory two-week quarantine period due to COVID-19 cases within the program.
Gabe Grant scored the lone goal for Crater (0-2), which finished with nine players after two players received red cards.
Henley (1-1) scored the game-winning goal via a penalty kick with eight minutes to go.
NORTH MEDFORD 2, CRATER 1: At Central Point, North Medford’s Kira Pyka scored the game-winning goal with two minutes remaining after winning possession in the middle of the field, taking on a Crater defender and putting a shot past the Comets into the net.
The goal was the second unanswered for the Black Tornado (1-1) after Crater’s Mia Tewes scored the in the 17th minute on a set piece for the Comets (0-2).
North Medford evened the score 1-1 in the 31st minute on a goal from Olivia Boger, with an assist from Pika.
Crater had 14 shots on goal to North Medford’s 10, and goalkeeper Bianca Pezqueda had a strong game in the Black Tornado goal.
The Comets also had strong performances from forwards Addison Dippel and Addison Vranes, as well as center back Emma Stanley.