Grizzlies ready to roll

The Ashland High girls soccer team hopes its second Class 5A playoff game against Bend works out better than its first.

The quarterfinal matchup is part of a big Saturday for Ashland soccer — the AHS girls (9-5) host undefeated Bend (15-0) at North Mountain Park at 1 p.m., while the third-ranked AHS boys (13-1-1) travel to play North Eugene (11-4-1) at 4 p.m.

The Grizz girls fell 1-0 at Bend in the elite eight a year ago, missing a chance to tie the game on a penalty kick. This time, Ashland, the No. 2 seed from the Southern Sky Conference, is riding high following a 1-0 second-round win over Crescent Valley.

Bend will be a formidable opponent. The Lava Bears of the Intermountain Conference have dominated their opponents by a combined score of 54-2 and are determined to get back to the state championship game after losing 1-0 to Sherwood last season.

The Grizzlies and Lava Bears have three like opponents and the results from those matches don't favor Ashland. The Grizzlies beat Crescent Valley, but lost to both Mountain View and Summit, while Bend beat all three handily. In the most glaring scoreboard disparity, Ashland suffered a 5-0 setback to Mountain View, while Bend trounced the Cougars 6-1.

"You're looking at an undefeated team, but at the same time most teams lose at least once," said Ashland head coach Eric Wolff, whose team has won eight of its last 10 since starting the season 1-3.

On the boys side, Ashland did everything right in Tuesday's 5-0 win over Madras and will be aiming for its first semifinal berth since 2004. The Grizzlies are led by a stout, experienced defense that has blanked eight of Ashland's last nine opponents.

Ashland's offense is also dangerous. Only two other 5A teams in the state have eclipsed the Grizzlies' 57 goals — top-ranked Woodburn (57) and fourth-ranked Churchill (73).

"I think it's good momentum going into the next round," Ashland goalkeeper Wes Overland said of Tuesday's lopsided playoff win. "You can't look toward the semifinals or the finals. We've got to look to the next game, the quarterfinals. One game at a time."

North Eugene, the No. 2 seed from the Midwestern League, has won six of its last seven games and is coming off a 3-0 second-round road win over Madison. The Highlanders are 10-3-1 against 5A opponents and 6-3 at home.

Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or

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