The South Medford boys’ football team were able to do a lot in Saturday afternoon’s game against Sheldon, but there was only one thing missing for the Panthers.
The ability to finish in front of goal.
No matter how many chances were created – including a second-half penalty – South Medford simply couldn’t convert as the Panthers and Irish played out a scoreless draw in the action from the Southwest Conference at Spiegelberg Stadium.
“We played well and I’m happy with the way we played,” said South Medford head coach Claudio Villa. “Unfortunately a few starters got injured which limited us a bit in attack. We didn’t really give up shots and on the other side we had a lot of chances to score, but it was one of those days when you can’t put the ball in the back of the net.
So much so that Villa didn’t shy away from talking about what will happen the next time the Panthers step onto the training ground.
“Oh yeah,” Villa joked when asked if shooting practice was scheduled, “we need to work on our finishing because that’s not where it should be. It’s on the board for Monday.
South (2-1-1, 1-0-1 SWC) had scored five goals in their last two games combined, wins over Roseburg and Ashland earlier in the week.
But it was a different story against the Irish (0-1-2, 0-1-1), who had scored just two goals in their first two games of the season.
“You do everything except the last part,” Villa said, “which is putting the ball in the back of the net.”
The Panthers had a golden opportunity to finally get ahead with 10 minutes left.
South created the chance from the penalty spot through senior Eloy Saucedo, who managed to dribble past Sheldon’s goalkeeper into the penalty area before being tackled by an Irish defender just before he could shoot. The referee wasted no time in calling for the penalty.
Saucedo, however, had to get injured from the tackle, eliminating the Panthers’ main penalty taker. South’s next option for PK, senior striker Alex Rodriguez, was also unavailable to take the shot after picking up the injury in the first half.
That meant Felix Valenzuela, third on South’s penalty taker list, stepped in. The result was not what the Panthers were hoping for, as Valenzuela pushed the shot wide.
“PKs can be a draw sometimes,” Villa said. “You score or you don’t score, it’s as simple as that. It’s part of the game and we have to remind the boys that you’ll score a lot of shots on goal and you’ll miss a lot of shots on goal because it’s part of the game.”
The Panthers defenders came under fire in the final minutes of the second half, but managed to clear several Irish corners without a shot being taken on goal.
South goalkeeper Silvano Pineda had a solid game despite not being called up too often. Instead, he served more as a keeper-sweeper, according to Villa, helping kick off the attacking phase with his demise.
“The last five minutes or so we were very desperate to score and you could tell from the kids that we had lost some of that patience and were getting a bit too high and getting caught off guard a few times,” Villa said. “The boys got up. We had worked both defensively and offensively on the corner kicks.
South Medford return to the pitch on Tuesday night when they head to Grants Pass for a 6pm kick-off.
“We hope to recover injured players as we have a very limited bench this year,” Villa said.
SOUTH EUGENE 1, NORTH MEDFORD 0: North Medford gave defending Southwest Conference champion South Eugene a hard time, but fourth-placed Ax managed to edge past the Tornado with a goal midway through the second half at North Medford High.
After a South Eugene throw-in (2-1, 1-0 SWC), Calvin Cowles was able to dribble past a pair of North Medford midfielders and send a looping shot from 25 yards to Black Tornado keeper Fernando Ortiz to break the deadlock.
The Black Tornado (1-3, 0-2) had a pair of quality chances to get on the board each half, including a header from a first-half corner that was cleared from the goal line.
North’s Matt Donovan had a solid game in midfield, while Landon Mercer – who played the full 80 minutes – was a mainstay in the center of the Tornado defence.
NORTH MEDFORD 2, SOUTH EUGENE 0: In Eugene, Isabella Driskell and Olivia Boger scored either side of halftime as North Medford earned their first SWC victory of the season.
Driskell put North (2-1-1, 1-0-1 SWC) ahead 1-0 in the 13th minute as she jumped on the rebound from a Payton Miller shot.
Boger doubled the Black Tornado’s lead midway through the second half with a fine run down the left wing that culminated in a shot from outside the box that slammed the crossbar and across the line.
South Eugene (1-2, 0-1) was playing its first game since the tragic news earlier in the week that senior co-captain Lyla Lauderbach died in a single-vehicle crash south of Eugene on Tuesday. Both teams knelt and observed a minute of silence before kickoff in honor of Lauderbach, 17, an all-conference defenseman last season.
SOUTH MEDFORD 4, CENTRAL CATHOLIC 0: In Portland, second-year midfielder Tyler Hampson had a goal and an assist, and South Medford were able to win their second game in less than 24 hours to secure a sweep of their road trip.
South (3-0-1), after a 3-0 win over McNary on Friday night, took a 1-0 lead on junior forward Brooke Fairbanks’ unassisted goal in the 10th minute. Sixteen minutes later, junior Samantha Gallardo doubled the Panthers’ lead with an assist from Hampson.
Hampson was on the scoring side of South’s third goal, scoring directly from a corner with a shot over the center Catholic keeper. First-year midfielder Jayda Dabbs followed a rebound from a Lexie Clark shot to complete the score.
South keeper Eve Lynx made a handful of clutch saves, including one where she was able to dive low to her left and parry the ball.
Fairbanks, Gallardo and Avery Zahniser all found the back of the net on Friday night.
ASHLAND 2, ROSEBURG 0: At Ashland, Ashland’s Brianna Gibbs and Ivy Clason each scored a goal off an assist from Iniana Hammond, leading the Grizzlies past Class 6A Roseburg at Walter A. Phillips Field.
Gibbs put the Grizzlies ahead (2-0) in the eighth minute, combining with Hammond for a nice back-and-forth.
Clason doubled the Grizzlies lead 11 minutes into the second half, taking a pass from Hammond and firing a shot past the Roseburg keeper.
At fullback, Joelle Annen put in a solid performance anchoring the Grizzlies defense. Ashland goaltender Esme Barnes finished with four saves.
Contact reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford’s Felix Valenzuela looks for the ball in the air against Sheldon’s Jaxon Alexander at the Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford’s Landon Davis goes up for the ball from a corner kick against Sheldon at the Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford’s Danny Centeno pushes the ball forward against Sheldon at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune South Medford’s Steven Calvillo collides with Sheldon’s Israel Salinas at Medford’s Spiegelberg Stadium on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune South Medford’s Steven Calvillo goes up for the ball against Sheldon at Medford’s Spiegelberg Stadium on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune South Medford’s Steven Calvillo looks to pass the ball forward against Sheldon at Medford’s Spiegelberg Stadium on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribuneSouth Medford’s Felix Valenzuela steels a pass away from Sheldon’s Tucker Darland at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Saturday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford’s Danny Centeno and Sheldon’s Danny Centeno challenge for the ball at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Saturday.