Panthers win, gain tie for conference title

There was a lot riding on South Medford's boys soccer conference finale against Grants Pass Tuesday.

A loss in the Southern Oregon Hybrid match could have dropped South Medford to fourth place.

And when Grants Pass jumped out to a 1-0 lead after four minutes, the Panthers were fighting an uphill battle.

But South Medford came on strong behind a three-goal, two-assist performance from Humberto Alvarez and won going away, 5-1, at Spiegelberg Stadium.

The victory gives the Panthers (7-5-2, 5-2-1 SOH) a share of the conference championship with North Medford and their second conference crown in three years. North Medford earned the SOH's No. 1 seed into the Class 6A state playoffs because of a win and tie against the Panthers.

Kevin Wilcox gave the Cavemen the initial advantage off an assist from Jerin Brady.

Junior Kodie Artner gave the Panthers a lift with a pair of goals that sent South into intermission with a 2-1 lead.

Artner, who had missed most of the year because of off-season knee surgery, scored in the 24th and 33rd minutes off assists from Alvarez.

Then Alvarez, a sophomore forward, took over in the second half by tallying a hat trick.

Alvarez gave South a 3-1 lead in the 62nd minute on a penalty kick when David Delladio was taken down in the box. Alvarez added another goal three minutes later and finished the scoring in the 72nd minute. Greg Alegria assisted on South's fourth goal, and Greg Rapet had the other assist.

"(Alvarez) is very calm on the ball and he's got very good vision," said South coach Dave Kaufman. "Not only does he score goals, but he serves up helpers. He's not one dimensional. He can create something out of nothing."

South Medford, which had nine new starters this year, began conference play 1-2. Since then, the Panthers posted a 4-0-1 record.

"In the second half of the season, we scored the most goals and have given up the least of anybody," said Kaufman. "That equates to success."

South has scored 20 goals and given up three over that span.

"We're peaking at the right time," said Kaufman.

ASHLAND 4, EAGLE POINT 0 — At Ashland, junior striker Imani Sharpe scored two goals in a two-minute span of the first half as Ashland clinched the No. 1 seed out of the 5A Southern Oregon Hybrid.

Ashland had the best record in the SOH, regardless of classification, but its games against the 6A teams were nonconference.

Ashland has a bye in the first play-in round and will compete in the second play-in round by Nov. 6 at Ashland Middle School.

In the 10th minute, Ashland got a 5-yard strike from Dakota Wolff off a pass from Chris Landt to open scoring.

Sharpe scored in the 37th minute on an assist from Ian Murray. A minute later, Sharpe scored from in front of the goal for a 3-0 lead.

Zach Hartman, usually the keeper, scored the Grizzlies' lone second-half goal.

ROSEBURG 5, CRATER 1 — At Roseburg, Anthony Zamora scored Crater's only goal on a corner kick by Brently Sturm in the 25th minute.

Roseburg netted three late goals to pull away from the Comets (0-12-1, 0-8 Southern Oregon Hybrid).

Crater held the Indians (9-4-1, 5-3 SOH) to two goals in the first 60 minutes of the match.

Skyline Conference

PHOENIX 3, HENLEY 0 — Hunter Sunitsch scored two goals to lift Phoenix at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

Sunitsch scored from 12 yards out in the 13th minute on an assist by Omar Iboa. Jalisco Macias netted a goal three minutes later on a David Espana corner kick against Henley (5-7-1, 3-6 Skyline).

Sunitsch scored once more on a header in the 72nd minute, with Macias earning the assist.

Goalkeeper Roberto Cook made two saves for Phoenix (8-4, 6-3 Skyline).

NORTH VALLEY 7, HIDDEN VALLEY 2 — At Merlin, North Valley handed top-ranked and unbeaten Hidden Valley its first loss in wet, muddy conditions, taking a 6-1 halftime lead.

The Knights (6-6, 4-5 Sky) got two goals and an assist from Josh Cowell and two scores from Isaiah McLittle in the stunning romp, dropping Hidden Valley to 12-1 and 8-1.

Matt Wessels added a goal on a penalty kick and an assist, and Jordan Crouse and Zane Willing got in on the scoring.

North Valley led 6-0 before Jason Kellogg tallied for Hidden Valley in the 36th minute. Its other score came in the 69th following a scramble in front of the goal.

District 3

ROGUE RIVER 6, GLIDE 1 — At Glide, Mitchell Smith scored twice and Dave Hansen had a goal and an assist to lead Rogue River to the District 3 win.

Shaq Poston, Brian Kynsi and goalkeeper Tyler Donahue also scored for the Chieftains (7-6, 5-2 Dist. 3), while Brian Stinchcomb had two assists and Andy Pelletier one assist. Rogue River led 5-0 by halftime.

Glide's Steven Young scored in the 65th minute.

CRESWELL 5, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 — At Creswell, Illinois Valley played without its starting goalkeeper and three first-half goals by Creswell helped spark the Bulldogs to the District 3 win.

The Cougars dropped to 5-8 overall and 3-3 in league.

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