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PREP SOCCER: Keepers hold North, Grants Pass in check

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In a meeting featuring two goalkeepers near the top of their games, neither North Medford nor Grants Pass was able to find the back of the net and played to a 0-0 draw at North Medford High School Tuesday.

North Medford’s Fernando Ortiz and Jacob Moss of Grants Pass each came up with three important saves to keep the other team out of goal, a few of which came in the final 20 minutes of the second half, in the Southwest Conference contest.

“It was a tale of two good keepers today,” North Medford head coach Michael Belzberg said.

In the 63rd minute, North junior Greg Hildabrand fired a shot toward the far post that Moss was able to get a fingertip on before the ball clanked off the cross bar and out of play.

Eight minutes later, in perhaps the team’s best chance to score of the day, North senior William Gillock worked upfield in a give-and-go and fired another shot on target that Moss was able to deflect with his outstretched left hand before collecting the ball on the ground.

Then with less than two minutes left in the game, Grants Pass played a ball from a corner kick that found junior Kenley Sheard on a volley.

Ortiz saved the shot on the bounce to keep the Cavemen from going ahead late.

The result was an improvement for the Black Tornado (4-4-2, 2-2-2 SWC) from its first meeting with the Cavemen on Sept. 21, when Grants Pass claimed a 2-1 victory. The Black Tornado has “come a really long way” since then, Belzberg said, and has four games remaining in the conference slate, starting with a Friday road game at Roseburg.

“We’re getting better for sure,” Belzberg said. “I think we’re in a good place.”

The Cavemen (5-3-2, 4-2-1) currently own sole possession of second place in the conference and will next play host to first-place South Eugene on Saturday.

Girls Soccer

SOUTH MEDFORD 2, SOUTH EUGENE 2: Halftime adjustments helped South Medford take a lead over Southwest Conference leader South Eugene, but the visiting Axe were able to score the equalizing goal soon after and escape with a tie in Medford.

Facing a 1-0 deficit to begin the second half, sophomore Brooke Fairbanks got the Panthers (5-3-2, 5-1-1 SWC) on the board with a left-footed shot into the net off an assist from sophomore Addison Bellm. Bellm went on to score the go-ahead goal, assisted by senior Isabelle Cruz.

In the 65th minute, however, South Eugene earned a corner that was lofted over the South Medford defense and found senior Nina Van Ryzin, who fired a one-touch shot that snuck into the net just under the cross bar.

The Axe (7-2-1, 6-0-1) took a lead 13 minutes into the game on a counterattack that was sent up to junior Sarah Money, who used her speed to score inside the near post.

GRANTS PASS 3, NORTH MEDFORD 2: At Grants Pass, North Medford rallied with two second-half goals but couldn’t fend off host Grants Pass as the Cavers earned their first win of the season.

Jazmine Campbell scored on a free kick for Grants Pass (1-9, 1-6 SWC) with nine minutes to go in the first half and added another three minutes into the second half to build a 2-0 edge.

North Medford (4-6, 1-5) answered with a goal two minutes later by Magdalene Moe, then netted an equalizer with 25 minutes to play on a goal by Isabella Driskell.

That momentum didn’t hold, however, as GP went ahead with about 15 minutes to go and thwarted a host of good tying efforts by the Black Tornado to gain the win.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Daniel Ortiz passes the ball off his head toward Ulysses Gomez (6) during the 1st half.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's William Gillock and Grants Pass' Evan Miranda battle for the ball during the 2nd half.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Ulysses Gomez controls the ball off his chest in front of Grants Pass' Cade Brandes during the 2nd half.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Ulysses Gomez tries to get the ball around Grants Pass' Evan Miranda during the 2nd half.