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Gustafson, Grizzlies roll into state semifinals

Senior midfielder Scott Gustafson made up for bad luck with his hustle and Ashland’s defense proved dominant in a 2-0 win over Hood River Valley in the Class 5A state quarterfinals on Saturday.

Gustafson hit the crossbar or lower post three times in the first half before seizing an opportunity in the 29th minute on a ball played back to the Hood River Valley goalkeeper by a defender. Gustafson hustled to intercept the pass and then win a close one-on-one battle to put second-seeded Ashland up 1-0.

The Grizzlies (11-2-3) tacked on an insurance goal in the 56th minute when a high bouncing cross from Gustafson was headed into the net on a one-touch effort by junior midfielder Carson Pindell.

Junior goalkeeper Gabe Giancarlo made a clutch one-on-one save and had three other quality saves to keep a clean sheet against No. 7 Hood River Valley (10-5-2).

Ashland’s defense of Milan Pyle, Sam Austin, Kai Larson, Tali Parowski and Michael Holden played instrumental roles, along with pressure put on offensively by Kona Makai and Davidson Graham.

Ashland will host No. 3 Wilsonville, a 1-0 winner over Silverton, in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Ashland High junior Scott Gustafson passes the ball to teammate Michael Holden, while holding off Wilsonville defender during the playoff match-up at Walter A. Phillips Field on Tuesday.(PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR)