BOYS SOCCER: Saucedo serves up South win over North
South Medford junior Eloy Saucedo broke a 1-all tie early in the second half with a goal and the Panthers’ boys soccer team was able to keep North Medford at bay thereafter to earn a 2-1 Southwest Conference victory Tuesday night at Spiegelberg Stadium.
“We’re coming together,” said South Medford head coach Claudio Villa. “We started kind of slow at the beginning of the season but now that we’ve found a rhythm and the fitness that we want, we can make things happen.”
South Medford (4-2-1, 2-1-1 SWC) had opened the scoring with a 27-yard free kick by Alex Rodriguez that was redirected by Saucedo past Black Tornado goalkeeper Fernando Ortiz. Saucedo had made a close run on Rodriguez’s left-footed effort on a crisp setup that left Ortiz little chance at defending.
North Medford (3-4, 2-3) was able to knot the score at 1-all later in the first half when Koby Ibarra lofted a nice crossing pass over a defender and to Erick Nunez, who settled quickly and drilled a low shot past goalie Silvano Pineda for the equalizer.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” said North Medford head coach Michael Belzberg. “I think we got kind of an unlucky goal conceded off the free kick but I thought the boys showed a lot of heart and played really good in connecting passes and creating good chances and got ourselves back into it by halftime at 1-1.”
Less than a minute after intermission, however, Saucedo was able to run onto a long through ball from Steven Calvillo that put him behind the defense and after a couple dribbles sent a shot inside the left corner post against a closing Ortiz.
It was the first two goals of the fall for Saucedo, one of the Panthers’ captains.
“Eloy is a very talented player and very crafty,” said Villa. “He had not scored all season and I think he was very frustrated with himself in each game until tonight. I told my assistant coach, Matt Soper, it couldn’t have come at a better time for him to score a goal and gain some of that confidence back. So far he’s made everything happen for us except put the ball into the net.”
North Medford had almost an entire half of play to counter, but just could not find the end result it was looking for against a South defense that steadily turned the Black Tornado away.
“We never really seemed to settle down and play well again,” said Belzberg after his team’s defensive lapse. “We put in some good chances but it was never enough or consistent enough to really get it done.”
“In the last 10 minutes we pulled a defender and tried to create something and unfortunately we didn’t get anything,” he added, “but the boys played really hard. I was proud of how they played.”
WEST ALBANY 1, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, scoreless up until the 70th minute, Eagle Point lost possession and West Albany scored on a breakaway to get the edge in nonleague play at Eagles Stadium.
Time of possession was a 50-50 battle between both squads as the backline of Andre Ramirez, Moses Angel, Kevin Lopez and Adam Cortez for the Eagles (2-2) were superb throughout the contest
Junior goalkeeper Trent Silani compiled five saves against West Albany (3-1-1).