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Panthers net top SWC soccer honors

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Cruz, Lynx and Potter lead girls voting; North boys duo, South’s Saucedo and Villa gain acclaim

South Medford girls soccer coach Dave Potter pointed out on numerous occasions this season that his team’s offense starts with Isabelle Cruz in the midfield and its defense is anchored by goalkeeper Eve Lynx.

There were plenty of special Panthers in between, but it was Cruz and Lynx who were rewarded most for their efforts in recent all-conference voting by the Southwest Conference coaches.

Cruz, a senior, shared SWC girls soccer player of the year honors and Lynx, a junior, shared the recognition for SWC girls soccer goalkeeper of the year after another solid season under Potter, who was named SWC girls soccer coach of the year for his guidance toward a shared SWC title.

South Medford also received first-team honors for seniors Drew Hampson and Bella Bottero and sophomore Brooke Fairbanks.

Cruz finished with six goals and six assists to help propel the Panthers as a playmaking central midfielder who, according to Potter, understands the game at the highest level and has the best soccer knowledge of one of his players since Jona Maukonen (1991-94).

After a rough early-season setback against fellow SWC champion South Eugene in which she allowed four goals, Lynx went on to allow only five more goals in league play.

Lynx finished the season with eight shutouts, 72 saves and 22 goals allowed overall — half coming in the first 2 ½ weeks of the season as teams here in the Rogue Valley practiced solely indoors due to air quality issues brought on by smoky skies.

Bottero used her speed and aggressive play to finish as South’s leader in points for the second straight season, posting eight goals and six assists, while Hampson eschewed her typical midfield position to help support Lynx as a central defender and led the back line.

Fairbanks contributed seven goals and four assists to continue her ascent as one of South’s top offensive threats.

South Eugene senior Jessie Hawes shared SWC girls soccer player of the year honors with Cruz, while Sheldon senior Sydney Quinney was the SWC’s girls soccer co-goalkeeper of the year.

In the all-SWC boys soccer voting by the coaches, North Medford’s Ulysses Gomez and William Gillock wrapped up stellar senior seasons with first-team recognition.

Gillock’s highlight moment of the season came when he scored all of his team’s goals in a 6-1 win over Crater, posting three goals in each half of play. That left Gillock one goal shy of the state’s single-game scoring record of seven goals in a game shared by three players, but his six goals did allow Gillock to become the eighth player to accomplish that feat at the time.

North Medford boys soccer coach Michael Belzberg pointed out that Gomez and Gillock combined to score 20 of the team’s 25 goals this season, often with the other being credited with the assist.

South Medford sophomore Eloy Saucedo also was a first-team all-SWC selection, posting five goals in his seven league games played with three assists. Saucedo’s clutch efforts also allowed the Panthers to tie for second place in the league standings.

For his efforts, Claudio Villa of the Panthers was named SWC boys soccer coach of the year.

All-SWC Soccer

Boys

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Whit Schatz, Sr., South Eugene.

GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR: Tate Glock, So., South Eugene.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Claudio Villa, South Medford.

FIRST TEAM

(GK) Tate Glock, So., South Eugene; Whit Schatz, Sr., South Eugene; Cade Brandes, Jr., Grants Pass; Tyson Bustamante, Sr., Roseburg; Griffin Rea, Sr., South Eugene; Eloy Saucedo, So., South Medford; Owen Whitney, Sr., South Eugene; Angel Flores, Jr., Roseburg; Mario Torres, Sr., Grants Pass; Zac Walker, Jr., South Eugene; Ulysses Gomez, Sr., North Medford; Anders Davidson, Jr., South Eugene; William Gillock, Sr., North Medford.

SECOND TEAM

(GK) Jacob Moss, Sr., Grants Pass; Alex Rodriguez, Jr., South Medford; Elijah Malama, Jr., South Eugene; Felix Valenzuela, So., South Medford; Dom Graziano, Sr., Sheldon; Parker Pastrell, Sr., Grants Pass; Jamison Gaines, Jr., Sheldon; Tetsuzo Hokari, Sr., South Eugene; Cash Cota, So., South Medford; Charlie Lacey, Jr., South Eugene.

HONORABLE MENTION

(GK) Mykah Mendoza, So., Roseburg; (GK) Kai Hundt, Jr., Sheldon.

Girls

CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Jessie Hawes, Sr., South Eugene, and Isabelle Cruz, Sr., South Medford.

CO-GOALKEEPERS OF THE YEAR: Sydney Quinney, Sr., Sheldon, and Eve Lynx, Jr., South Medford.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Potter, South Medford.

FIRST TEAM

(GK) Sydney Quinney, Sr., Sheldon; (GK) Eve Lynx, Jr., South Medford; Jessie Hawes, Sr., South Eugene; Isabelle Cruz, Sr., South Medford; Caroline Foskett, Sr., South Eugene; Drew Hampson, Sr., South Medford; Jazmine Campbell, Sr., Grants Pass; Olivia Montoya, Sr., Sheldon; Sophie Cadaret, Sr., South Eugene; Bella Bottero, Sr., South Medford; Brooke Fairbanks, So., South Medford; Alexis Cockerill-Gonzales, Fr., Sheldon; Emma Johnston, Sr., Sheldon; Brier Turnbull, Sr., South Eugene; Nina Van Ryzin, Sr., South Eugene.

SECOND TEAM

(GK) Amy Carpenter, Jr., Roseburg; Brooke Richardson, Jr., North Medford; Audrey Bivens, Sr., Sheldon; Kyla Imel, Sr., Grants Pass; Emelie Morello, So., Roseburg; Mary Frances Fluga, Jr., Sheldon; Lyla Lauderbach, Jr., South Eugene; Alyssa Brown, Jr., South Medford; Sofia Serrano, Sr., South Eugene; Alexandra Maukonen, Jr., South Medford.

HONORABLE MENTION

(GK) Sarah Gardner, So., South Eugene.

Have a story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford's Isabelle Cruz takes a shot against North Medford during a game in October.
South Medford High senior Bella Bottero attempts to score between Grants Pass defenders at South Medford High on Saturday.// PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR
South Medford High sophomore Brooke Fairbanks dribbles past Grants Pass defenders Kenzie Kliener (12) and Mia Thompson (16) at South Medford High on Saturday.// PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Ulysses Gomez tries to get the ball around Grants Pass' Evan Miranda during the 2nd half.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's William Gillock and Grants Pass' Evan Miranda battle for the ball during the 2nd half.