Ben Lucero’s goal in the opening minute off an Ian Rinefort assist gave Ashland the early momentum, and the two hooked up again for the put-away goal in the final minute, as the Grizzlies clinched the Midwestern League championship with a 3-1 victory over Marist, Friday at Walter A. Phillips Field.
Lucero finished with two goals and Rinefort a goal and two assists for the Grizzlies, who wrapped up a perfect 7-0 run through one of the toughest conferences in the state and now must wait to see who they’ll face in the first round of the 16-team Class 5A state tournament Nov. 1.
Rinefort scored a goal from 10 yards out off Joseph Wallner-Sentle’s corner kick in the 33rd minute to give the Grizzlies (11-1-2) a 2-0 lead. Marist (9-4, 5-1), which employed a counter-attack strategy, tallied its lone goal in the 65th to infuse some drama into the home stretch.
Ashland ended any hope of a comeback in the final seconds when Rinefort capped a long dribble drive with another fine pass to Lucero, who scored.
At Eugene, Thurston quarterback Preston Fisher passed for 273 yards and four touchdowns and the Colts defense held Ashland in check to beat the Grizzlies 39-14 in Midwestern League action Friday at Thurston High School.
Fisher completed 21 of 29 passes to 11 different receivers, helping the second-place Colts improve to 6-2 overall, 5-1 in the MWL.
Ashland (2-6, 1-5) scored first when Rieger Sayre found Nathan Carter for a 33-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but Fisher threw TD passes of four yards and 44 yards in the second quarter as the Colts regained control.
Sayre completed 7 of 13 passes for 63 yards and rushed for 74 yards to lead the Grizzlies, who were held to 208 yards of total offense and 10 first downs. Also for Ashland, Cade Swenson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ben Feinberg late in the third quarter, a score which cut Thurston's lead to 26-14 after the point-after kick.
Thurston amassed 504 yards of offense, 231 on the ground, as three Colts — Avery Jaramillo, Wes Kommer and Cade Harmon — each surpassed 70 yards rushing.
Ashland's defense was led by Anthony Swanson, who had an interception, and Finn Hayes, who had 11 tackles.
At Eugene, Grace Angermeier and Alex Crane were outstanding, but Ashland couldn't capitalize on its first-set victory in a Midwestern League loss to Thurston on Friday.
The Colts fought back from an early deficit to beat Ashland and clinch a season sweep, 17-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-21, at Thurston High School.
Angermeier had 28 assists, seven digs and two aces, and Crane nine kills, seven digs and two aces for the Grizzlies (5-12, 5-8 MWL), who face Churchill today in their regular-season finale.
Also for Ashland, Emily DeVall had six kills and six digs, Sophia Rooney nine kills and Rosie Dean five aces.
Joe Zavala is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-821-0829 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Joe_Zavala99.