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PREP SOCCER: North nets clutch win over GP

North Medford picked up a pivotal boys soccer victory as it looks to make a late-season push toward a state playoff spot on Tuesday, scoring a 1-0 victory over Grants Pass at Hoffbuhr Field.

Black Tornado junior midfielder Koby Ibarra floated a free kick over the wall from about 23 yards out and into the side netting in the 12th minute and North Medford (5-4-1, 4-3-1 SWC) was able to make that hold up for a Southwest Conference victory.

“It was just such a well-placed shot, it was beautiful,” said Tornado head coach Michael Belzberg of the effort. “Their keeper didn’t even move.”

Even with the early goal, however, Belzberg said he knew his team had to dig in from there. The last time the teams played, North Medford led 1-0 at halftime and wound up losing 2-1.

“They’re a good team, they’re really good,” he said of the Cavemen, who are 5-3 overall and in SWC play. “At halftime tonight, I told the guys the last time we were in the same situation, so what have we learned and have we improved or not, we’ll be able to answer that question by the end of the game.”

The answer came in the form of an intensified defensive effort, with goalkeeper Fernando Ortiz coming up with three especially strong saves and defender Colson Rumrey leading the charge in front.

“Colson Rumrey was unbelievable today,” said Belzberg. “He saved one on the line, had a slide tackle on a breakaway, defensively he was pretty impressive today. That was his best game I’ve seen in the three years I’ve been coaching him.”

“Grants Pass just kept coming and sending numbers, but we played really good defense overall,” he added.

SOUTH MEDFORD 5, ROSEBURG 0: Junior Eloy Saucedo pulled off his second hat trick in a row as South Medford cruised to a Southwest Conference win at Spiegelberg Stadium.

Saucedo sparked the Panthers (6-4-1, 4-3-1 SWC) in the second minute of play on a pass from Landon Wallace before winning a one-on-on with the Indians’ goalkeeper.

Eight minutes later, Saucedo gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead with a header and closed the contest with another score in the 75th minute. Saucedo, who added an assist on Alex Rodriguez’s goal in the 47th minute, previously finished with a hat trick against Sheldon on Saturday.

Wallace also scored in the eighth minute and junior goalkeeper Silvano Pineda came up with four saves.

The Indians dropped to 1-6-1 overall and 1-6 in SWC play.

SOUTH EUGENE 5, ASHLAND 0: At Eugene, Ashland dropped to 2-3-1 overall after a dominant display by Class 6A South Eugene, which improved to 8-1-1 after posting its eighth shutout.

The third-ranked Axe scored four goals in the first half to take command.

Girls

SOUTH MEDFORD 3, ROSEBURG 0: At Roseburg, South Medford junior Brooke Fairbanks scored two goals — both coming on assists by sophomore Avery Zahniser — and goalkeeper Eve Lynx handled the defensive backline to earn a clean sheet in Southwest Conference play.

Zahniser also scored for the Panthers (6-3-1, 3-3-1 SWC) off an assist by senior Lexie Maukonen, who had a strong game overall in the midfield by creating movement and opportunities against Roseburg (0-4-5, 0-3-4).

NORTH MEDFORD 3, GRANTS PASS 2: At Grants Pass, North Medford sophomore Olivia Boger netted a hat trick on three assists by Isabella Driskell as the Black Tornado held off Grants Pass in a back-and-forth affair for a Southwest Conference victory.

Boger scored the opening goal for North (5-3-2, 4-2-2 SWC), but Mia Thompson had an answer for the Cavers (2-6-2, 0-6-2) to send the match into halftime tied at 1-all.

Boger again gave her team the advantage early in the second half but GP brought it back to all square with a penalty kick by Brooke Anderson.

In the 68th minute, Boger scored after a crossing pass from Driskell ricocheted off the GP defense right to her and she was able to poke the ball in while going toward the goal.

Photo by Denise Baratta. North Medford midfielder Koby Ibarra (8), shown in action earlier this season, scored the Black Tornado’s lone goal in a 1-0 win over Grants Pass on Tuesday.