Roseburg defeated North Medford 2-1 in Saturday’s Southwest Conference boys soccer game at Finlay Field, which keeps the Tribe in the running for a playoff spot.
“It feels pretty good,” RHS coach Jim Giraudo said. “It was definitely a must-win situation for us to get up to that playoff spot.”
Jayden Bangs scored both goals for Roseburg (5-6-1, 4-4 SWC) on assist from Fernando Bitelli.
“These are his first two goals of the year,” Giraudo said. “He had several chances Tuesday night against Sheldon and he couldn’t quite finish them so its a big confidence booster for him. He’s been playing well all year. For him to get those goals as we make our playoffs push is huge.”
Bangs’ first goal of the game came in the 23rd minute. North Medford’s Heriberto Gallegos scored in the 34th minute to tie it at 1 just before halftime.
“I feel like everyone stepped up, not only as teammates but as a whole soccer team, we each played our roles and I wouldn’t have gotten either of those goals without my team,” Bangs said. “Not only did I need them for personal reasons, but my team needed them.”
Roseburg came out with a different formation in the second half.
“The first formation we played when we came out is kind of a new formation and we’ve had a couple practices on but when we went back to our old formation everyone was comfortable with it and everyone knew their roles,” Bangs said. “They kinda stepped up and played the game that we love.”
Giraudo added, “It was a complete team effort, the boys implemented my game plan perfectly.”
Bitelli once again assisted Bangs in the 75th minute of the game to get a 2-1 lead, which it was able to hold on to despite a strong offensive effort by the Black Tornado (5-5-1, 5-2-1).
Throughout the game Patrick Giraudo and Jonathan Colunga would take turns playing midfield and forward.
“I switched them just to get a different look,” Jim Giraudo said. “Patrick is our fastest player, but he’s also our best holding midfielder so I tried to switch them to see if we could get a quick goal off of Patrick’s speed, but not having him at holding midfielder there was no one there to give that ball to him.”
Several players were also brought up from the junior varsity to help the Tribe as they make a push for postseason play.
The top three teams of the conference automatically qualify for the playoffs and 11 at-large spots will be awarded based on OSAA rankings.
South Eugene is the only SWC team guaranteed to make the playoffs. The Axe are 10-1-1 overall and undefeated (8-0) in the conference.
Roseburg is currently ranked fourth in the conference. North Medford is second and South Medford (6-2-3, 4-2-2) is third.
“Obviously it’d be nice to win out but if we win one and tie one I think we still have a shot,” coach Giraudo said.
Roseburg hosts South Medford at 6 p.m. Tuesday during senior night. The Tribe’s final game of the regular season will be next Saturday against Grants Pass (1-9-1, 1-7).
“I think we’ve got to play equal to this or harder than this, but I’m excited for (the games),” Bangs said.