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PREP SOCCER: North falls into third-place tie

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South Eugene stymies Black Tornado to avenge earlier SWC girls soccer loss

Any notion that Saturday’s showdown was going to be similar to the previous one for the North Medford girls soccer team went out the window only two minutes into the match with South Eugene.

The ability of the Axe to score such a quick goal at Bowerman Field seemed to put the Black Tornado on its heels a little and try as it might to level the contest, North Medford simply didn’t have the finishing touch in ultimately falling 3-0 in Southwest Conference play.

“I think that they showed up today and they wanted it more than we did,” North head coach Morgan Barry said. “We didn’t really show up. The first time we played them we beat them (2-0) but they had their backup goalkeeper in and today they had their actual goalkeeper.”

And what a difference that made as senior goalkeeper Liya Brooks made the quick one-goal lead hold up, thwarting 13 shots on goal by a pressing Black Tornado attack.

“She is amazing,” Barry said of Brooks, who is committed to play at Washington State. “She stopped some goals that were unbelievable. She did a really good job, and kudos to the whole South Eugene team, they really showed up.”

Saturday’s result dropped North Medford into a tie with South Eugene for third place in the SWC. The Black Tornado and Axe have identical records of 4-3-2 overall and 3-2-2 in SWC play.

Olivia Boger led North with four shots on goal, with Isabella Driskell, Alisa Wisdom, Alia Villa, Claire Holcomb and Peyton Caster all getting into the mix on shots sent Brooks’ way but not past the goalkeeper.

“It’s not like we didn’t have the opportunities,” said Barry, “I just think we couldn’t finish. We just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities today.”

Sydney Mills sent a free kick into the box from 39 yards out that forced a diving stop by North goalie Margaret Hamlin but allowed for a loose ball near the front of the goal that was poked into the net by Sarah Money about two minutes into play Saturday.

Money was, well, money again midway through the second half when she ran onto a long pass up the right side and slotted a shot past Hamlin to make it 2-0.

South Eugene was able to put a bow on the road win in the final minutes when Mills sent another long direct kick over the defensive backline, where freshman Lillie Schmelz redirected it across to the far post on a one-touch effort for the final tally.

“We were doing really good coming into today,” said Barry. “Especially with beating them the first time, though, these girls thought that they could just do that again, but we need to kind of be more humble. We got them on a hard day last time, and they came out ready to play today.”

SHELDON 2, SOUTH MEDFORD 1: South Medford doubled the goals allowed this year by Sheldon but it wasn’t enough in the SWC match at South Medford High.

Tyler Hampson buried a shot from the top of the box in the 32nd minute to tie the match at 1-all for the Panthers (5-3-1, 2-3-1 SWC) after Brooke Fairbanks had fought for possession and sent a 45-degree pass to set up her teammate.

A few minutes prior, Mary Frances Sluga had scored for Sheldon (7-0-1, 5-0-1) on a 35-yard free kick that sailed to the top portion of the goal and could only be punched sideways into the net by South goalie Eve Lynx.

The Irish scored a go-ahead goal in the second half after a corner kick by Izabela Flores was poked in by Kendall Quinney.

Lynx had a strong game in net to keep the score where it was for the Panthers, at one point making a diving save and then quickly another on her side while sprawled out.

Boys

SOUTH MEDFORD 4, SHELDON 1: South Medford junior Eloy Saucedo registered a hat trick as the Panthers halted a two-game scoreless drought with a big SWC road win.

Alex Rodriguez scored on a penalty kick after Felix Valenzuela was taken down in the box in the fifth minute to get South Medford (5-4-1, 3-3-1 SWC) off to a good start.

Rodriguez then played a through ball to Saucedo to set up his first goal in the 15th minute.

A close-range goal by Saucedo in the 65th minute was followed closely by a goal from Sheldon’s Jaxon Alexander to make it 3-1.

Saucedo capped the scoring in the 73rd minute on an assist by Sergio Cisneros.

NORTH MEDFORD 0, SOUTH EUGENE 0, tie: North Medford junior goalkeeper Fernando Ortiz came up with five saves — one that was especially athletic — and the Black Tornado played mostly a defensive game to keep a scoreless tie with South Eugene.

On one particular shot by the Axe from the top of the box, Ortiz had to range sideways on a hard shot to the top of the left corner and was able to shift his feet correctly and jump up and tip the ball just over the crossbar for North (4-4-1, 3-3-1 SWC).

Greg Hildebrand offered up a good scoring chance with a corner kick to Erick Nunez, whose hard header was right at the keeper for South Eugene (7-1-1, 6-0-1).

CRATER 2, MARSHFIELD 0: At Coos Bay, Crater junior Nevan Quirke converted a penalty kick and assisted the Comets’ first goal to complement a strong defensive outing.

Senior Cooper Hopkins got Crater (3-1-2) on the board in the 38th minute, and Quirke closed the scoring with his PK in the 72nd minute.

Diego Estrada needed only to make two saves thanks to good defensive support by the Comets.

North Medford's Isabella Driskell attempts a shot stopped by South Eugene's Julia Martin and goalkeeper Liya Brooks during the first half at Bowerman Field in Medford Saturday. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
South Eugene goalkeeper Liya Brooks clears the ball away from the goal off a North Medford corner kick during the first half at Bowerman Field in Medford Saturday. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
North Medford's Olivia Boger heads the ball downfield during a league game against South Eugene Saturday at Bowerman Field in Medford. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
North Medford's Alia Villa and South Eugene's Lillie Schmelz fight for the ball at Bowerman Field in Medford Saturday. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]