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The Ashland High boys soccer team poses for a picture after beating Springfield 2-0 to clinch the Midwestern League championship, Saturday at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Boys Soccer: Panthers eliminated, Grizzlies clinch MWL

FOREST GROVE — South Medford and Forest Grove entered the Class 6A boys soccer playoffs going in different directions.

The Panthers came into the post season with a four-game winning streak while the Vikings had lost two straight.

But one defensive miscue by South Medford proved costly in a 1-0 first-round playoff loss to Forest Grove Saturday.

“It was a pretty even match,” said South Medford coach Claudio Villa. “We feel asleep for a second and that’s how goals are scored. It came down to one mistake.”

The Vikings (11-3-1), the No. 2-seed from the Pacific Conference, scored the game-winner just one minute prior to halftime off a corner kick that was played short, then crossed back to Oscar Macias, whose mid-air shot from the top corner of the box found the back of the Panthers’ net past sophomore goal keeper Jude Pannell.

“We didn’t have a quick reaction to their set piece or shot,” said Villa. “(Pannell) helped keep us in the game. He had a couple of saves that were not easy for any goalie.”

Forest Grove withstood an accelerated South Medford (9-3-3) attack after intermission.

“We were able to apply more pressure in the second half,” said Villa. “We went to a very offensive formation that improved our scoring opportunity. We created some danger but could not find the net.”

The Panther’s received excellent performances on the back line from Love Lynx, Calvin Whitley, Kennon Pulsipher, and Mark Anguiano. Also midfielder Seth Parks was active recovering balls and held good field position.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Villa. “We brought it to them. We did a great job except one mistake.”

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 8, NORTH MEDFORD 0: At Portland, freshman backup Owen Boswell held his own in goal and senior defender Tanner Houck played well but the Black Tornado couldn’t contain the state’s No. 1 team in the first round of the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs.

Central Catholic (12-1-2), which finished second to David Douglas in the Mt. Hood Conference but first in the final OSAA rankings, scored five goals on set pieces, most set up by Fritz Kabeiseman.

North Medford (5-9-1) suffered its fifth straight loss.

ASHLAND 2, SPRINGFIELD 0: At Ashland, Scott Gustafson scored on a free kick in the 24th minute and Davidson Graham added an insurance goal late as the Grizzlies clinched their second straight Midwestern League championship at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Gustafson put Ashland (8-3-2, 6-1-1 MWL) on top with a stellar 20-yard blast, bending it around the wall and inside the near post to give the Grizzlies the only goal they would need.

Ashland goalkeeper Gabriel Giancarlo made two great saves to keep the Grizzlies in front, and in the 79th Graham clinched the game and the league title for Ashland. The freshman fired a shot from close which the Springfield keeper could only deflect, and Graham’s follow crossed the line for the goal.

Ashland, which could have slid all the way to fourth place in the final MWL standings with a loss, also received outstanding performances from Samuel Austin and Milan Pyle. The fifth-ranked Grizzlies will host 12th-ranked Wilsonville in the first round of the 16-team 5A state tournament Tuesday.

Springfield (8-2-4, 5-1-2) had a six-match unbeaten streak snapped.

EAGLE POINT 2, WILLAMETTE 1: At Eugene, playoff-bound Eagle Point scored the game-winning goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in its Midwestern League finale.

The Eagles (9-3-2, 5-1-2 MWL), the league No. 3 seed, will open the 5A state playoffs on Tuesday at Ridgeview.

Eagle Point goalie Gio Rodriguez got the assist on Jaydyn Budrow’s decisive goal in the 73rd minute. Rodriguez kicked a long punt that Budrow chested and one-touched a shot from just outside the box inside the far post.

Luis Padilla’s header off a corner kick gave Willamette (6-8, 3-5) the initial lead in the 30th minute.

Cody Silani scored the equalizer for the Eagles off a throw-in eight minutes later.

Eagle Point received outstanding performances from junior center-midfielder Martin Hernandez and sophomore defender Elvis Cisneros.

THURSTON 9, CRATER 0: At Springfield, with the shutout loss Crater finished the season winless in the Midwestern League.

The Comets were 0-7-1 in league and 2-11-1 overall.

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