GRANTS PASS — Ruben Rodriguez practiced what his coach preached and it paid off Saturday in the South Medford boys soccer team’s Southwest Conference opener against Grants Pass.
Rodriguez stayed aggressive when he got a peak at the net and the junior forward knocked in two first-half goals for the Panthers, who topped the Cavemen 2-0 at Grants Pass High School
“It seems obvious but I told the boys if you want to win, you have to shoot more,” said Villa. “That’s something we weren’t doing during games.
“Ruben is a great player. He’s a different player when it comes down to his technique. One of the things he did today was shoot more and he was on target.”
Rodriguez first connected in the 13th minute on a pass from Peyton Terry.
The Panthers’ lead lasted just one minute before a shove by South Medford gave Westley Frye of Grants Pass a penalty kick, which he made to knot the score at 1-all.
Six minutes later, Rodriguez recovered a loose ball in the midfield, gathered it and cracked it in from 25 yards out to give the Panthers the lead for good.
Kam Calhoun also scored for the Panthers (2-0-1, 1-0 SWC) with a penalty kick in the 65th minute.
The Panthers’ offensive aggressiveness combined with solid defensive work gave them a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal over the Cavemen (0-3-1, 0-1).
NORTH MEDFORD 2, SHELDON 0: North Medford drilled a pair of goals midway through the first half for its first victory of the season in the Southwest Conference opener at Spiegelberg Stadium.
Jordan Higuera received a through pass from Caleb Forte and beat the Sheldon goalkeeper to put the Black Tornado (1-2, 1-0 SWC) up 1-0 in the 25th minute.
Three minutes later, right winger Robert Valencia made a cross to Heriberto Gallegos at the top of the 18-yard mark, where he sent his shot to the far right post and into the net to put North Medford up 2-0.
Starting goalkeeper Junior Garcia made three saves and Fernando Orozco had one to help the Black Tornado get the shutout.
The Irish dropped to 0-3-2 overall and 0-1 SWC play.
ASHLAND 3, NORTH BEND 0: At North Bend, Ashland had a difficult time penetrating North Bend’s defense in the first half but broke through with three goals over a 12-minute span late in the second half of their Midwestern League season debut.
Scotty Gustafson knocked in the only goal the Grizzlies (2-2-1, 1-0 MWL) would need in the 59th minute on a pass from freshman Davidson Graham. Seven minutes later, Sam Austin used a pass from Carson Pindell to pad Ashland’s lead before Graham gave the Grizzlies a 3-0 advantage with a goal in the 71st minute on a set up from Kona Makai.
Defensively, Sequoia Jacobson, Tali Parowski, Sam Austin and Rio Giancarlo led the way in holding North Bend to just four shots, all of which were scooped up by goalkeeper Gabe Giancarlo.
EAGLE POINT 1, THURSTON 1, tie: At Eagle Point, Eagle Point’s Mathew Angel found the back of the net on a penalty kick with two minutes remaining to salvage a Midwestern League tie.
The match was scoreless until Jose Torres connected for the Colts (0-4-2, 0-1 MWL) in the 68th minute.
In the 78th minute, the Eagles’ Martin Hernandez was tripped up in the penalty box which gave Angel the opportunity to even the score and preserve the tie.
Goalkeeper Giovanni Rodriguez came up with a pair of crucial saves in the second half for the Eagles (4-1-1, 0-0-1).
SPRINGFIELD 4, CRATER 0: At Central Point, Springfield hit the ground running in the first half and Crater wasn’t able to keep up in their Midwestern League opener.
Because of poor air quality, referees ended the game at halftime.
The Comets dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the MWL while Springfield moved to 4-1 and 1-0.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0: Jonny McCoy had a goal and an assist to lead Cascade Christian in the District 5 contest at U.S. Cellular Park.
McCoy scored first for the Challengers (2-0-1, 2-0-1 Dist. 5) in the 23rd minute, taking a pass from Levi Ellerbeck. Thirteen minutes later, Levi Sciapiti found Seth Thomas for a close-range shot and a 2-0 halftime lead.
In the 45th, Jorge Garcia-Guttierez took a McCoy pass and scored.
Cascade Christian had the edge in corner kicks (6-2) and shots on goal (17-0).
ST. MARY’S 10, LAKEVIEW 0: At Lakeview, junior Milan Bobek had three goals and two assists in the District 5 match.
The Crusaders (3-0-1, 3-0 Dist. 5) also got two goals and two assists from senior Luka Cvijanovic and two goals and an assist from sophomore Will Kranenburg.
Seniors Corin Elmore, Preston Jernigan and Parker Lam each found the back of the net, and Jernigan added two assists.
ROGUE RIVER 5, CANYONVILLE ACADEMY 1: At Myrtle Creek, Garren Decker scored all four of Rogue River’s first-half goals en route to a District 5 victory at South Umpqua High School.
Decker scored in the 16th minute on a free kick and found the net again for the Chieftains (3-1, 2-1 SD5) one minute later on a cross from Sebastian Poston.
Poston’s brother, Simeon, assisted on Decker’s third goal in the 29th minute before Decker booted home a penalty kick at the 38-minute mark.
After Canyonville Academy (0-1-2, 0-1-2) got on the scoreboard early in the second half, Sebastian Poston was on-target with a with a breakaway 59th minute.