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PREP SOCCER: South boys top GP in SWC opener

GRANTS PASS — For a second straight day, South Medford’s boys soccer team used early strikes to put its opponent on their heels and walk away with a 3-1 victory.

That scenario played out Friday night in a 3-1 win over Ontario and carried over to Saturday afternoon, when the Panthers tallied twice in the opening 20 minutes and went on to a 3-1 win over Grants Pass to open Southwest Conference play.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” said Panthers coach Claudio Villa. “We have four starters out, and they’re key components for the team, but we brought up four JV players and they stepped up to the occasion.”

Due to a variety of reasons, South Medford (3-0, 1-0 SWC) was down to 14 available players on the roster, including two goalkeepers Saturday.

Senior Tyson Palodichuk got the scoring going in the seventh minute, and sophomore Eloy Saucedo doubled the advantage with a 35-yard free kick in the 20th minute.

The Panthers made it 3-0 in the 45th when sophomore Felix Valenzuela picked up a loose ball in the box and sent a missile into the back of the net.

Grants Pass (0-2, 0-1) scored in the 65th minute following another loose ball in the box that couldn’t be cleared away.

EAGLE POINT 9, NORTH BEND 1: At Coos Bay, Edgar Lopez Ramirez recorded a hat trick and Eagle Point secured its first win of the fall by mercy rule with three minutes left on the clock.

Moses Angel opened the scoring for the Eagles (1-2, 1-0 MWL), who also received a pair of goals each from Brennen Neyt and Mathew Angel.

Gideon Lundberg also scored against North Bend (1-2, 0-2).

WILLAMETTE 3, ASHLAND 0: At Eugene, Willamette scored two second-half goals to pull away in the Midwestern League clash.

Ashland made a strong push in the first 40 minutes, holding fifth-ranked Willamette (4-0, 1-0 MWL) to one goal while getting strong performances from seniors Davidson Graham, Cedric Huston and Lucas Poareo Davidson.

After four straight road trips to open the season, No. 8 Ashland (2-2, 1-1) will get its first home game Sept. 25 against Thurston.

SPRINGFIELD 4, CRATER 1: At Central Point, Springfield broke open a back-and-forth even affair with all of its goals in the second half of the Midwestern League matchup.

The Millers (3-2-1, 1-0 MWL) got a goal from Kyle Babcock in the 47th minute to break a scoreless tie but Crater rallied right back in the 53rd minute when Gabe Grant cleaned up a corner kick set piece that saw the ball ricochet off Springfield’s goalkeeper.

The Comets (0-4, 0-1) were tagged with a hand ball in the box in the 66th minute and Jacobo Contreras Benitez converted the go-ahead penalty kick. He later added an insurance goal in the 71st minute, with a final goal coming after a scrum in the box in the waning minutes.

PHOENIX 5, ONTARIO 0: At Phoenix, Phoenix keep its unbeaten streak alive and put together one of its best games of the young season.

Jorge Mejia led Phoenix (4-0) with two goals, including the team’s first in the 16th minute. The Pirates, who also had goals from Bryan Ramos, Caden Gallegos and Victor Martinez, held a 2-0 lead at halftime. Martinez led Phoenix with two assists, in addition to one assist each for Johnny Reyes, Meija and Gallegos.

Tucker Speaks recorded two saves for the Pirates, who also got strong defensive performances from Daniel Palomino and Cielo Marlia-Larsen, who was inserted into the back line for the first time this season.

Ontario fell to 2-2-1.

Girls

CRATER 1, SPRINGFIELD 1: At Central Point, Crater operated with a majority of the possession but just couldn’t create a go-ahead goal in the Midwestern League contest.

Springfield freshman Elidia Cervantes-Carlos scored on a stunning 30-yard effort in the second minute to catch the Comets (0-2-1) off guard but Crater rallied back two minutes later on a penalty kick by Mia Tewes. Addison Vranes had been tripped in the box to set up the free kick.

Crater goalkeeper Fallon Campbell came up with a pair of diving saves and Springfield counterpart Alexi Morgan turned away a handful of Crater shots thereafter.

Senior Kayleigh Gugliotta provided a standout effort in midfield for the Comets, while center back Joslyn Sizemore and outside back Mary Nadauld were also instrumental.

EAGLE POINT 4, NORTH BEND 0: At Coos Bay, Eagle Point broke a scoreless game open with four goals in the second half to earn the Midwestern League triumph.

MaKenna Maldonado broke the ice for the Eagles (2-1, 1-0 MWL) in the 45th minute off an assist from Morgan Dole, and Jade Lierman tallied one minute later from an assist by Maldonado.

Kylie Balero supplied a nice volley off a corner kick by Alyssa Ortega in the 65th minute to make it 3-0, and EP closed the scoring in the 69th minute when Ortega scored from 8 yards out off an indirect kick by Lierman.

Emilee Nielsen had three quality saves to earn the shutout in goal.

ASHLAND 2, WILLAMETTE 1: At Eugene, Ashland was able to fight back against an early deficit and a torrential downpour to claim the comeback win over Willamette in MWL action.

Willamette (1-4, 0-1 MWL) took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on a free kick.

But the Grizzlies (2-0-2, 2-0) responded one minute later when Ini Hammond successfully converted a penalty kick.

Hammond played a role in the go-ahead goal in the 22nd minute, sending in a free kick from 40 yards out that found Emmeline Clark, who knocked it past the keeper.

Ashland goalkeeper Zadi Burke finished with four saves.