Grizzlies start season with a win

MEDFORD — Battling a merciless summer heat wave as well as the Cascade Christian Challengers, the Ashland High girls soccer team overcame both Tuesday in a taxing season opener.

Senior midfielder Taylor Zehren had a goal and an assist and Ashland's defense for the most part kept its Class 3A opponent out of scoring range as the Grizzlies opened the season with a 3-1 nonconference victory at the sweltering U.S. Cellular Community Park.

As temperatures soared to triple digits on the synthetic grass surface, Ashland freshman Facien Graham drove past the last defender before beating the keeper from inside the box to break a 1-1 tie in the 20th minute. Graham was assisted on the play by senior Maddie Wilson, whose long pass set up the angled shot.

"I think we're balanced all over the field," Ashland head coach Eric Wolff said. "I think the defense did a good job, especially with their counter attacks. And on offense we did a much better job possessing the ball than we did in the jamboree (last week)."

The Grizzlies tacked on an insurance goal just before halftime. Zehren's free kick from about 30 yards out was blocked by Challengers' keeper Megan Killam before junior Montana Pindell swooped in for the finishing touch.

Zehren got the Grizzlies on the board in the seventh minute off a corner-kick assist by sophomore Sadie Bailey. Zehren controlled Bailey's pass near the end line then stroked a high-arching shot that curled just inside the far post.

"(Zehren) did a lot of good work in the middle, directing play," Wolff said.

The Challengers answered two minutes later when sophomore Lacey Reen delivered a perfect crossing pass to senior Carly Smith, who one-touched in a shot from six yards out.

Cascade Christian coach Mick Power was pleased with his team's performance.

"It was brutally hot and to be honest I think we played very well," he said. "We were up against a 5A school, so it was a good test for the first game of the season to give me an indication of what we need to work on. I was very encouraged by what I saw from the players."

SOU Awards

For the second consecutive week a pair of Southern Oregon University athletes have been recognized as Red Lion Athletes of the Week, the Cascade Collegiate Conference office announced Monday.

Southern Oregon's Sarah Holgen, a 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter, has been named the Red Lion Hitter of the Week for the third consecutive week after hammering 20 kills in the Raiders' league-opening win over Oregon Tech. It was her sixth consecutive match with at least 15 kills and she finished with a .326 attack percentage.

The honor is the seventh of Holgen's career after receiving the recognition three times as a junior and once as a sophomore.

In women's soccer, SOU's Stephanie Carr, a 5-9 junior forward, has been named the Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week.

Carr scored the tying and winning goals to lead SOU to a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Hope International. She also had a goal in the Raiders' 3-2 loss to Point Loma Nazarene.

Share This Story