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PREP SOCCER: Strong second half leads South girls past North

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Staff reports

Following a first half where there wasn’t a whole lot of offense generated, South Medford made sure to change that after the halftime break.

And in a hurry, too.

South Medford scored a pair of goals within the first 11 minutes of the second half, turning a close lead into a comfortable one on its way to claiming a 3-0 win over North Medford in Southwest Conference girls soccer action at North Medford High on Tuesday afternoon.

“We played two different halves,” South Medford head coach Dave Potter said. “The first half was a little bit hectic, and we could not adjust to the grass field and the turf (at North Medford) is pretty bumpy and hard. We played some ugly soccer in the first half that we weren’t pleased, the girls weren’t happy with themselves.

Halftime discussion centered around on just relaxing, playing smarter soccer and being patient. Within about five minutes, we knew we were going to play a much better second half — and we were rewarded with the change in thinking and effort.”

The victory, South’s third in a row, extended the Panthers’ unbeaten streak against the Black Tornado. South Medford improved to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the SWC, while North Medford fell to 4-4 on the season and 1-3 in league play.

North last beat South in a 2-1 win on Oct. 20, 2015.

“South has a solid defense,” North Medford head coach Morgan Barry said. “We just tried to keep getting past them, but didn’t get many shots on goal. We’re working on when we do transition to offense, we don’t have enough girls. We’re working on just supporting our forwards and our wings and really try to capitalize off of those chances.”

The Panthers grabbed the early 1-0 lead on Bella Bottero’s goal in the 11th minute. Bottero, a senior, raced down the left wing after receiving a pass from fellow senior Makayla Peterson and fired home a right-footed shot.

Eight minutes into the second half, the Panthers doubled their lead. Sophomore Addison Bellm dished it off to senior Alyssa Brown, who sent a low shot in that barely snuck inside of the right post.

South wasn’t done there, though.

All of three minutes after Brown’s goal, the Panthers struck again on Alexandra Maukonen’s looping shot from 30 yards out that snuck under the crossbar to make it 3-0. Sophomore Brooke Fairbanks got credit for the assist.

“In the first half, we gave (North Medford) a significant number of chances to go to goal, but unfortunately because of the rough terrain, I think some of the shots they could have gotten off they just weren’t able to get good shots off because the ball was bouncing so much,” Potter said. “In the second half, we possessed the ball out of the back so much better that they didn’t get those chances. We weren’t making those passes without looking like we were in the first half. We made sure that our eyes were up, the vision had improved and we were playing the ball from white shirt to white shirt rather than just in a general direction.

“It really changed the flow of the game to a much better possession game and allowed us to dominate in the number of shots that were being taken.”

North Medford was unable to generate much offense against South Medford in the second half, with the Panthers’ defense cleaning things up after a first half where the Black Tornado had just as many chances to get shots off.

The shutout was South’s third in five SWC contests this season.

“In the first half of this match, it was very frustrating because we were doing things we were doing in the preseason that weren’t pretty and making decisions that we shouldn’t be making at this point in the season,” Potter said. “The girls took responsibility at halftime and said that this is not what we’ve been playing like and we have to make an improvement — and they did.”

Boys

SOUTH MEDFORD 1, NORTH MEDFORD 0: South Medford midfielder Eloy Saucedo scored the only goal in the tightly-contested match, helping the Panthers edge rival North Medford.

Saucedo’s goal came in the 20th minute, as he recovered a ball in midfield, dribbled to the top of the North penalty area and fired in a low shot to the back post.

South’s defense, led by senior captain and center back Sergio Pina, was able to hold the Black Tornado attack at bay.

Sophomore goalkeeper Silvano Pineda made three saves for South (4-3, 2-2 Southwest Conference).

North Medford, which was coming off an upset win over South Eugene last Wednesday, fell to 3-4-1 and 1-2-1 in the SWC.

EAGLE POINT 3, ASHLAND 1: At Eagle Point, Eagle Point built an early two-goal lead and held off Ashland’s late comeback bid to pick up the Midwestern League win.

Eagle Point (2-3, 2-1 MWL) grabbed the lead less than two minutes into the game, as Mathew Angel set up Edgar Lopez for the goal.

In the 15th minute, the Eagles made it 2-0 with Angel once again providing, this time sending in the cross on a corner kick that found Brennen Neyt.

Ashland (4-2-1, 2-1) cut Eagle Point’s lead in half with five minutes to go, as Lucas Poareo Davidson dished it to Davidson Graham after a scramble for a loose ball in the box.

The Eagles reclaimed their two-goal lead almost immediately when Cesar Campuzano successfully converted his breakaway opportunity.

Defensively, Moses Angel led Eagle Point at the back, while Alejandro Redondo had a strong performance in midfield against the Grizzlies.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune South Medford's Alyssa Brown shoots for a goal during the second half of Tuesday’s game against North Medford.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North Medford's Brooke Richardson and South Medford's Addison Belim battle for the ball during the first half of Tuesday’s game.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Alia Villa and South Medford's Lexie Clark battle for the ball during the first half of Tuesday’s game.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North Medford's Alisa Wisdom and South Medford's Mali Malaythong battle for the ball during the second half of Tuesday’s game.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford's Bella Bottero shoots for a goal during the first half of Tuesday’s game against North Medford.