TUALATIN — It wasn’t in the cards for the Southwest Conference girls soccer champion South Medford in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
A long bus ride, a goalkeeper who showed up just eight minutes before the opening whistle, some early injuries and a rain storm did not help the Panthers’ chances.
And all the adversity added up to a 1-0 loss to the Timberwolves at Tualatin High.
The Panthers endured some added anxiety when goalie Skylar Farmer had to fly to Portland from Medford and made it to the game just in time after taking the ACT exam in the morning.
Then South Medford lost defender Mikayla Titus to an eye injury on a mid-air collision in the first 15 minutes, and attacking midfielder Whitney Winans was slowed with an ankle injury.
“We had to make a couple of adjustments,” said South Medford first-year coach Kendra McMillen, who had guided the Panthers to eight consecutive victories after starting the season 1-5. “We had some of things going against us. There were uncontrollable factors.”
South Medford (9-6) conceded the game-winning goal about midway through the second half when Meghan Macpherson capitalized on a rebound off a shot near the Panthers net.
“It was just being in the right place at the right time,” said McMillan.
The Panthers had few scoring opportunities. Talia Hutchins, Toni Coleman and Winans provided South some dangerous offensive chances but the Panthes couldn’t generate a consistent attack.
“Defensively we did relatively well between (Madelyn) Pineda and Baylee Smith sacrificing their body to block shots,” said McMillen. “Generally speaking Tualatin had about 15 potential shots but only five got on frame because of them putting their body in front of the ball.”
Pineda, a senior, is this season’s SWC player of the year.
“Overall we gave them a run for their money,” said McMillen. “We’re a team that just tries to push through. We left everything on the field.”
Tualatin (9-4-2), No. 5 from the Three Rivers League, advances to Wednesday’s second round at Clackamas, a 7-0 winner over Oregon City.
SUMMIT 3, GRANTS PASS 2: At Bend, with the close victory, Summit advances to a second-round match against West Salem on Wednesday.
Grants Pass, which finished fourth in the Southwest Conference, completes the season with a 8-5-2 record.
THURSTON 3, CRATER 1: At Springfield, Crater shocked playoff-bound Thurston with a goal by Hunter Ironside in the 23rd minute but surrendered two second-half scores in the MWL season-ending match.
Ironside, a senior midfielder, dribbled into Springfield’s zone then sent a ball from 22 yards out that ricocheted off the crossbar and the post into the net.
Just 30 seconds later, Crater (4-6-4, 1-6-1 MWL) allowed the equalizer and the game remained tied 1-all at halftime.
Thurston (8-4-2, 5-2-1), which tied for third in the MWL, tallied the go-ahead goal about 15 minutes into the second half.
Crater goalie Lauren Noyes saw 23 shots come her way. The senior made several outstanding saves — tipping two shots over the crossbar.
The Comets also received strong play from freshmen center backs Mia Tewes and Kayleigh Gugliotta.
WILLAMETTE 5, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eugene, Willamette scored in the first minute and led 4-0 at the half on its way to a Midwestern League-clinching victory.
The Wolverines (9-4-1, 6-1-1 MWL) will enter the 5A state playoffs on a five-game unbeaten streak.
Eagle Point (1-12, 0-8) finished winless in league play.
ASHLAND 2, SPRINGFIELD 0: At Ashland, Lily Annen scored on a great hustle play and Emmeline Clarke took advantage of Nicole Mullen’s perfect through pass as Ashland finished its season on a high note at Walter A. Phillips Field.
In the 66th minute, Karis Lee took a free kick from outside the box that the keeper couldn’t handle, and Annen swooped in for the follow, giving the Grizzlies (4-7-2, 3-3-2 MWL) the 1-0 lead.
Ashland, which finished sixth in the MWL, put the game away in the 78th, as Mullens threaded the needle through a crowd of defenders to Clark, who drove into the box and calmly finished. Ashland won or tied four of its last five games.
Springfield (5-7-2, 4-3-1) finished fifth in the MWL.
NORTH MARION 4, PHOENIX 0: At Aurora, North Marion scored two goals in each half to win the Class 4A play-in game.
Phoenix completes the season with a 4-8-2 record. The Pirates placed fourth in the Skyline Conference.
North Marion (8-5-2), the No. 3-seed from the Tri-Valley Conference, advances to a 16-team bracket first-round game at undefeated La Grande (12-0) on Wednesday.