EAGLE POINT — Minus a trio of starters, the Eagle Point boys soccer team was a little slow to start Saturday but finally kicked in to secure a 3-0 victory over visiting Crater in Midwestern League action at Eagle Stadium.
With starters Martin Hernandez, Elvis Cisneros and Alex Rodriguez away due to family matters, the Eagles (6-2-2, 2-1-2 MWL) played to a scoreless draw with the Comets through the opening 30 minutes before Martin Munoz finally turned the tide with an unassisted effort in the 33rd minute. Munoz stole the ball from a defender and ripped a shot in from 12 yards out.
“They were playing pretty nervous because we were missing three starters,” said EP head coach Matt Soper, “but once we scored they finally started to relax. And in the second half when we scored again, they really settled in. It was good for them to know that they could win without some starters.”
Cody Silani’s goal from 18 yards out in the 69th minute stemmed from a scrum in the box where the ball squirted out to an open Silani, and Julian Herazo tallied in the 72nd minute to close the contest on an assist by Brandon Silani.
Giovanni Rodriguez made four saves against the Comets (2-8, 0-4), allowing Eagle Point to remain in contention for one of the top spots in the MWL. The Eagles trail only Ashland (3-0-1 MWL) and Churchill (3-0 MWL) in the league standings, with a big date in Eugene against the Lancers scheduled for next Saturday.
“This core group has been together for the past three years so we expected to be fighting for one of the top two spots,” added Soper.
LINCOLN 4, NORTH MEDFORD 0: At Portland, North Medford lost five starters to injuries in the first five minutes, gave up an own goal in the 10th and trailed 3-0 at the half in a rough nonleague road game.
Lincoln (6-2-2), the Portland Interscholastic League’s second-place team, went ahead early when a free kick hit the post and ricocheted off the back of North’s keeper and into the net.
The Black Tornado (5-3-2) resumes Southwest Conference play Tuesday against Grants Pass.
CRATER 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, Ally Ritchey scored a pair of goals for Crater and the Comets were sound in controlling the ball to make for light duty for goalkeeper Lauren Noyes as she recorded a clean sheet.
Ritchey scored on an 18-yard rocket shot 23 minutes into the contest for Crater (4-3-3, 1-3 MWL) in the only goal of the first half.
Makiah Palmer tacked on a goal in the 53rd minute to create more cushion against the Eagles (0-9, 0-5), and Ritchey scored again in the 60th minute to close it out.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, LAKEVIEW 0: Bryton Plankenhorn’s goal in the 10th minute proved to be the deciding factor for Cascade Christian in what was an extraordinary end-to-end battle in District 5 play at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Plankenhorn, a junior, scored on a solo effort for the Challengers (4-6, 2-3 Dist. 5) as she dribbled past three defenders and hit a laser shot from 20 yards out that caught a piece of the goalkeeper’s hand but merely bent it back given the power of the effort.
The rest of the contest proved to be a spirited encounter, with Lakeview (6-2-1, 3-2) trying desparately to net an equalizer but repeatedly getting turned away by a defensive charge led by junior Braelyn Day and senior goalkeeper Audrey Quast, who made 13 saves.
ROGUE RIVER 8, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1: At Cave Junction, Rogue River improved to 5-4 overall and 2-2 in District 5 play with the runaway road victory.
Illinois Valley dropped to 2-5-1 overall and 0-4 in league.