PREP ROUNDUP: Playoff hopeful North wins at home
In a must-win game for North Medford to have a chance at reaching the Class 6A boys soccer playoffs, the Black Tornado posted a 5-0, wire-to-wire win over visiting Sheldon on Tuesday.
Seniors Jeffrey Cruz and Ulysses Gomez each netted a pair of goals, and senior William Gillock assisted on two of North’s scores. Sophomore Matt Donavan also scored for the Black Tornado (5-7-2, 2-5-2 Southwest Conference), which took a 2-0 lead into halftime over the Irish (2-12, 1-9).
North’s win also snapped a four-game winless streak in SWC play. Knowing that a loss on Tuesday likely would’ve bounced the team from playoff contention, North “really wanted to play for this one,” coach Michael Belzberg said.
As of Tuesday evening, North was ranked 28th in the OSAA rankings before they were frozen at 10 p.m. In addition to the 21 teams that automatically qualify or the 32-team playoff bracket across seven leagues in 6A, the 11 remaining highest-ranked teams also qualify as “at-large” teams. The first round of playoff games will be held on Saturday.
SOUTH EUGENE 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: South Eugene went on a scoring run by netting all three of its goals during a six-minute stretch of the second half and picked up the road win against South Medford.
After a scoreless first half, Zac Walker scored in the 46th minute for the Axe (12-2, 9-1 SWC), connecting on a loose ball in the box following a cross from Gavin Williamson. Charlie Lacey and Griffin Rea added goals in the 49th and 52nd minutes, respectively, both coming courtesy of assists from Whit Schatz.
South Medford wrapped up the regular season with a 8-5-1 overall record, including 5-4-1 in SWC play. As one of three automatic qualifiers from the SWC, in addition to South Eugene and Grants Pass, the Panthers will play Saturday in the opening round of the 6A playoffs. The opponent has yet to be determined.
ROGUE VALLEY ADVENTIST 8, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0: Behind four goals from junior forward Jordan Melugin and a strong defensive outing, Rogue Valley Adventist claimed a lopsided victory at home.
The first half was book-ended by a pair of goals from Melugin, who opened the scoring in the game’s first minute. The Red Tail Hawks held a 5-0 lead at halftime.
Junior Ian Cheshire scored two goals for Rogue Valley Adventist (7-2, 4-1 District 5) and added an assist, while senior midfielders Bryce Perry and Alex Wiggers each had one goal and one assist. Junior David Zamudio added an assist in the second half one the third of Melugin’s four goals.
The team’s center backs, Cody Mendenhal and Josh Nunn, anchored the Red Tail Hawks’ defense and helped preserve the shut out.
EAGLE POINT 2, SPRINGFIELD 0: At Springfield, Eagle Point scored a pair of first-half goals and kept Springfield off the board for the duration of the Midwestern League match.
The Eagles (3-6-1, 2-4-1 MWL) struck in the seventh minute off a corner kick when MaKenna Maldonado tapped a loose ball to Alondra Cabrera, who put home the goal. Maldonado added a goal in the 23rd minute from 12 yards out with an assist from Kylie Balero, who also made a significant impact on the Eagles’ defense, in addition to Raegan Hussey.
Eagle Point, which snapped a five-game losing skid in the win against Springfield (6-5-1, 2-5-1), will conclude the regular season on senior night Thursday against Thurston.
CRATER 3, NORTH EUGENE 0: At Central Point, Crater closed out the regular season with a sweep of MWL opponent North Eugene, 25-17, 25-21, 25-12.
The Comets’ balanced attack was led by Kendra Bittle and Madison Kocina with 13 kills apiece, while Kate Stidham had a team-high 27 assists, 13 digs and also served the Comets through a 12-point run in the third set. Joslyhn Pope led Crater with eight service aces.
Crater (11-8, 10-6 MWL) is one of 16 teams moving on to the Class 5A playoffs, which begin Saturday. The Comets’ opponent has yet to be determined.
North Eugene finishes the regular season 7-11 overall with a 7-9 MWL record.
MAZAMA 3, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 2: At Klamath Falls, Cascade Christian held a 2-1 set lead but was unable to close out 4A Mazama in a 25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 21-25, 11-15 defeat.
Maddi Carter led the Challengers (11-9) with 20 kills and five aces, Molly Griffin collected 38 assists, Ellie Harrington had a team-high 29 digs and Maddie Todd chipped in 12 kills and 12 digs.
The match marked Cascade Christian’s second attempt of the season to knock off the Vikings (19-1), whose only regular-season loss came against South Medford Oct. 16.
The Challengers, who finished second in the Far West League, will now await their seeding for the Class 3A playoffs, which begin Saturday.