PREP ROUNDUP: Ashland rolls by North to clinch No. 1 seed
Once everything fully clicked for the Ashland boys soccer team Saturday afternoon, it was full steam ahead.
Led by a hat trick from senior captain Carson Pindell, Ashland exploded for five goals within a span of 25 minutes in the second half and turned a one-goal game at the half into a 7-2 romp over host North Medford at Hoffbuhr Field.
The win allowed the Grizzlies to secure the No. 1 seed in next week’s Southern Oregon Conference tournament.
“They just connected together and it happened to be our day,” Ashland head coach Abdiaziz Guled said. “The defense, the five of them back there, did a great job keeping North out of the way. Defense just won the day even though we had all of those goals. They made things happened. Today, I can’t mention just one player — they all did great.”
The Grizzlies, who finished the regular season 7-1-1, needed a win or tie to claim the top seed and first-round bye Tuesday that comes with it.
“Considering how this year went with all of the COVID stuff and all of the other obstacles, it was amazing how resilient these kids are,” Guled said. “Although we are conference champions — and even if we were not — we are happy with how the season has gone and were able to make sure the kids have something to look forward to.”
Ashland never trailed after taking a 1-0 lead in the second minute through a Julian Lull goal after a nice flick from teammate Davidson Graham.
North (5-2-1) — which will be the SOC’s No. 2 seed after suffering both of its losses to Ashland this season — tied the game in the 15th minute after Braden Byrd successfully converted a penalty kick set up by Gustavo Lara.
The Grizzlies moved back in front in the 20th minute when Pedro Guimaraes’ low shot to the left side of goal found the back of the net.
Then the flood gates opened after the break.
Noah Aguilar extended the Grizzlies’ lead to 3-1 with a nice individual effort, dribbling through the North defense before slotting it home.
Pindell’s first two goals came within a minute of one another, first tapping in a cross from Aguilar and then finishing off a Mario Jacobsen pass to make it 5-1.
Pindell finished off his hat trick to cap Ashland’s big second half with 12 minutes to go off an assist from Joe Jarvis. Four minutes earlier, Jarvis also set up Graham on his 64th-minute strike.
Lara scored the Black Tornado’s other goal in the 60th minute.
SOUTH MEDFORD 4, ROSEBURG 1: Senior midfielder Ricky Esparza dished out three assists to three different goal scorers to help lead South Medford.
The Panthers (5-2-2) took a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute when senior Jude Pannell — one of South’s two goalkeepers who earned a rare start up front at forward — scored off an Esparza assist.
South freshman midfielder Eloy Saucedo had a hand in his team’s next two goals, first scoring after receiving a pass from Esparza and then setting up sophomore Camilo Rios a minute before halftime to make it 3-0.
Roseburg’s Moses Finlay scored in the 65th minute, but Panther freshman Kyle Denn answered off Esparza’s final assist of the game.
South senior Peyton Terry had a strong game in defense and nearly scored a goal in the final second of the game, but it was ruled to have crossed the goal line just after the final whistle.
EAGLE POINT 2, GRANTS PASS 2: At Grants Pass, Eagle Point turned a 2-0 halftime deficit into an important tie on the road heading into next week’s Southern Oregon Conference tournament.
Zach Olson scored a pair of goals for Grants Pass (3-3-3) after capitalizing on defensive letdowns by the Eagles in the first half.
Playing with more passion and determination, Eagle Point (4-2-3) answered with two second-half goals by Elvis Cisneros off headed-in deflections following free kicks by Mathew Angel. Cisneros’ first goal came in the 50th minute, and tying goal in the 65th.
Each team had a couple scoring opportunities thereafter but were unable to capitalize and break the tie.
HENLEY 1, PHOENIX 0: At Klamath Falls, Phoenix saw its 29-match unbeaten streak in Skyline Conference play snapped in the regular-season finale when Henley came up with the ball amid a jumble of players and deposited an 8-yard shot in the 30th minute.
The Pirates had scoring chances but could not capitalize in moving to 8-1.
Phoenix was still able to earn the No. 1 seed out of the Skyline Conference for a defacto 4A state tournament slated to begin next week, while Henley (6-1-1) was one of two teams not earning a conference championship to also advance to the eight-team event.
ST. MARY’S 8, ROGUE RIVER 2: St. Mary’s senior Will Kranenburg and sophomore exchange student Yejun Choi each scored three goals to highlight the season finale for the Crusaders at U.S. Cellular.
Kranenburg got the scoring going with his first goal in the opening few minutes of the contest for St. Mary’s (5-4), then Choi took over with goals in the 10th and 20th minutes.
Back-to-back penalty kicks converted by Chris Kranenburg (23rd) and Caleb Johnson (31st) and Choi’s third goal of the half in the 38th minute allowed the Crusaders to build a 6-0 halftime edge.
Will Kranenburg scored in the 55th and 65th minutes to cap the scoring for St. Mary’s, which finished second in the District 5 standings.
Rogue River (0-7-1) got two second-half goals from senior Jimmy Geiger, the first on a successful penalty kick.
SOUTH MEDFORD 3, ROSEBURG 0: At Roseburg, South Medford dominated first-half play but couldn’t capitalize on 11 shots, then the floodgates finally opened with three goals in a three-minute span in the second half to ease concerns.
Emily Ingledew broke the ice for South Medford (8-0-1) in the 54th minute with a goal off an assist by fellow senior Rainie Dabbs.
Dabbs quickly upped the advantage in the 55th minute when she ran onto a booming punt by senior goalkeeper Jaeda Boutwell, taking the ball on a second bounce and deftly finding the net.
Bella Bottero capped the surge when she scored following a penetrating dribble off an assist by Riley Fox.
The Panthers clinched the No. 1 seed in next week’s Southern Oregon Conference tournament and will receive a bye for Tuesday’s first round before playing host to an undetermined opponent Thursday.
NORTH MEDFORD 4, ASHLAND 1: At Ashland, North Medford senior Taylor Denn scored one goal and created two others as the Black Tornado put together its best outing of the spring.
Denn’s 30-yard free kick in the 25th minute resulted in an own goal after it deflected off an Ashland player to give North Medford (2-5) a 1-0 lead.
Denn later dribbled through the defense before being thwarted on a nice save by Ashland goalkeeper Zadi Burke on a one-on-one, but Emily Parker swooped in to tally a rebound goal in the 42nd minute. Denn’s goal came in the 68th minute on a penalty kick.
Kira Pyka also scored for North off a corner kick by Sophia Elam in the 30th minute.
Kendra Machala scored off an assist by Sachi Moran in the 59th minute for Ashland (4-4-1).
GRANTS PASS 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, Grants Pass proved too technical and skilled to slow down, although the Eagles had a handful of solid scoring chances just turned back on senior night.
Marlene Pena came up from her fullback position to fire a great strike on goal that was punched over the bar, and the Eagles (0-8-1) also saw Edith Sibrian dribble through the defense and hit a shot that was barely tipped away to earn a corner kick. Makenna Maldonado also helped spark EP’s attack with some nice runs on goal.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, SUTHERLIN 0: At Myrtle Creek, Cascade Christian amassed an impressive 47 kills in three sets, many in emphatic nature, to secure a Far West League playoff championship and earn the league’s No. 1 seed in next week’s defacto eight-team Class 3A state tournament.
The Challengers received a bye into the final, where they beat Sutherlin 26-24, 25-18, 25-11.
Sutherlin, which earned the league’s second and final tourney seed, reached the final at South Umpqua High by topping Douglas.
Kara Palmer had 11 kills while Janie Kenaston and Hannah Stanfield added 10 kills apiece to pace the Challengers (13-0), who next await the winner of Monday’s matchup between Harrisburg and Creswell.
Ania Farmer had two aces and nine kills, including big swings to end a tight first set as well as close out the third set.
Taylor Cave added 37 assists and four aces, with Stanfield and Maddi Strain instrumental from the back row to keep the offense rolling.
MAZAMA 3, PHOENIX 0: At Klamath Falls, Phoenix dropped to 2-9 overall with the straight-set loss on the road, 25-11, 25-15, 25-9.
BONANZA 3, ROGUE RIVER 0: At Rogue River, sophomore outside hitter Mikayla Moore provided nine kills and eight digs and senior Tia Trahan added five kills, five digs and one ace but Rogue River couldn’t deny Bonanza, which prevailed 25-14, 28-26, 25-16.
Junior middle blocker Ayrica Hansen added seven blocks, six digs and two kills for Rogue River (2-9), while freshman setter Suzy Smith had three kills, six digs and one ace.