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GIRLS SOCCER: North turns the tide on South

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Black Tornado score early, hold off late Panthers flurry to secure SWC victory

Based solely by how things went the last time the North Medford girls soccer team took the field, head coach Morgan Barry was curious just to see how the Black Tornado would react Tuesday.

By night’s end, the answer was all positive.

Thanks to an early strike from forward Isabella Driskell and some heroics from goalkeeper Margaret Hamlin, North Medford was able to hold off previously unbeaten South Medford for a 2-0 win in Southwest Conference action at Bowerman Field.

“It was awesome,” said Barry. “I was kind of nervous on that, especially coming after a 5-0 (loss to Sheldon) against a team in our league, because it’s hard to walk away from that. But I’m proud of them coming off that and that kind of loss especially. We had to set it aside because this is our next game to win — and they showed up today. I’m really proud of them.”

The Black Tornado (3-2-2, 2-1-2 SWC) was coming off a game last Saturday that doubled the amount of goals North had allowed all season in just one game.

But against the Panthers (4-1-1, 1-1-1), the Tornado’s defense bent as far as it could but never broke, allowing them to keep their first shutout in two weeks.

A big part of that was the performance of Hamlin, who finished with 10 saves, many of those coming during South’s second-half push to try and get an equalizer.

“She came up huge, she was just phenomenal,” said Barry. “The whole game she had awesome saves, but those last ones toward the end could have completely changed the game. South could have tied it up and we could have easily ended with a tie. We did fall back a little and South stepped it up and started playing in our half and it was rattling us, but it didn’t rattle my goalie. She just stood back there and made the saves she needed to make.”

Tuesday’s result also marked the first time since Oct. 20, 2015, that the Black Tornado has picked up a win over its crosstown rival, snapping an 11-game winless streak against the Panthers.

“We came out ready to play,” said Barry. “I told the girls the way to win this game was to come out and be ready to play or else South is going to come out and take it, and they were able to do that.”

North Medford nearly took the lead less than two minutes into the game, but South Medford goalkeeper Eve Lynx was able to make a save with her feet from point-blank range at the near post.

The Black Tornado, which had much of the early possession, got its goal seven minutes later, though.

After South had some issues completely clearing the ball out of the back, North won it back and midfielder Alisa Wisdom was able to switch the ball over to Isabella Driskell, who was making a run into the 18-yard box from the right wing. Driskell, a sophomore, sent a looping shot toward the back post with her first touch that was able to get over Lynx and give her team a 1-0 lead.

It was the first goal the Panthers had allowed in their last five games, a streak that dated all the way back to South’s 4-3 season-opening win over Bend.

“I think it just boosted the girls’ mindset,” Barry said of the impact of the early goal. “Getting that goal kind of showed them that they can do this, they can go out and try to beat South.”

The Panthers, however, were able to grow into the game after falling behind. South nearly evened the score up in the 23rd minute when forward Brooke Fairbanks was able to split the Black Tornado defense and get a look in on goal. Fairbanks, however, was forced to try and shield off a North defender right as she was trying to shoot, with her effort going right at Hamlin.

“North’s field is not a regular length field, and that really hurt us,” South Medford head coach Alicia Stormberg said. “We like to play wide and use that width to spread the field, so that was a big change for us. In the beginning, it’s a rivalry game, so you get a little antsy. In the second half, I think we settled down and played our game. We were able to control the game and control the tempo, but we just couldn’t get that goal to drop for us.”

Fairbanks came close again midway through the second half, as she was sent through on the counterattack on the right wing and saw her shot go past Hamlin but just wide at the far post.

South only upped the pressure from there.

The Panthers hit the post twice within a 60-second span with 13 minutes to go, with Hamlin making a pair of saves after the subsequent rebounds resulted in mad scrambles right in front of her goal.

North added an insurance goal with less than two minutes to play, as Olivia Boger was able to hit the Panthers on the counterattack, dribbling around Lynx and finishing her shot from a tight angle to put the Black Tornado ahead 2-0.

“Their keeper was definitely the player of the match and she had one heck of a game,” said Stormberg, whose team finished with 20 shots. “Sometimes, things just don’t go the way that you want, and we had one of those nights where we had the shots on goal and some really great shots and some good looks, but she had a tremendous game.”

CRATER 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Central Point, Crater dominated time of possession and negated any potential Eagle Point threat to earn the Midwestern League victory at Dutch Meyer Field.

The Comets (3-3-1, 1-0 MWL) finally got on the board about 23 minutes into the first half with a perfectly placed 30-yard shot by Addison Dippel over the outstretched hands of Eagle Point’s goalkeeper. The ball had fallen in front of her in space from Kamdyn Johnson and Dippel was able to stride into her go-ahead strike.

Crater doubled its lead about 15 minutes into the second half after Kallie Michaelis slipped a pass to Annie Idiart at the top of the box and the latter delivered a left-footed roller just inside the far post.

After a touch pass from Joslyn Sizemore, Emma Bohn added a nifty cut into the box and a left-footed finisher to cap the scoring against the Eagles (2-1, 0-1) with about 13 minutes remaining in the contest.

North Medford's Isabella Driskell (right) celebrates with teamates after scoring during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
South Medford's Avery Zahniser and North Medford's Ali Villa battle for the ball during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
North Medford's Isabella Driskell and South Medford's Sarah Gaut battle for the ball in the air during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
South Medford's Natalie Scheuneman takes the ball away from North Medford's Alana England during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
North Medford's Alisa Wisdom pushes the ball down field during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
North Medford's Olivia Boger takes a shot on goal during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
North Medford's Isabella Driskell and South Medford's Sarah Gaut fight for the ball in the air during the 1st half at Bowerman Field in Medford Tuesday. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune