Sadie Bailey wasn't the tallest player in the box — not by a longshot. But that didn't stop the Ashland High midfielder from somehow getting her head above everybody else's to finish with aplomb a spectacular individual effort.
The blazing-fast junior headed in her own crossbar ricochet in the 67th minute for her second goal of the night and Ashland's third, and the Grizzlies held on from there to secure the third win in their last four games, 3-1, over Roseburg under the lights at North Mountain Park on Tuesday.
"I have some good athletes on the team and they're doing a great job beating players one-on-one and making the other team adjust," Ashland coach Eric Wolff said. "We're utilizing that athleticism and individual skill that we have well."
Bailey showed off her athleticism on the game's final strike, racing into a crowd and outjumping two Roseburg defenders before stunning the keeper with a far-post header. The ball was on a fast decent after Bailey ripped a hard shot off the crossbar, causing the ball to bounce high into the air before meeting her head about eight yards in front of the goal.
"My main focus was just going as hard as I could to get the ball first," Bailey said. "I thought it was going to go over (the crossbar)."
"She read the ball well," Wolff added.
Ashland (4-5-1) easily protected its lead through the final 13 minutes, spending most of that time on the attack as Roseburg's offense struggled to mount a serious push.
The Grizzlies broke a scoreless tie in the 22nd minute when Bailey took a pass from senior forward Geraldine Graham at the top of the box and let fly a perfectly-placed shot that squeezed just inside the right post. The ball hit the post and ricocheted across the line.
The Grizzlies made it 2-0 three minutes later when sophomore forward Facien Graham took a pass from freshman midfielder Calysta Susu Mago and left-footed a shot from about 15 yards away over the Roseburg keeper's outstretched hands. The ball hit the bottom half of the crossbar and ricocheted almost straight down. After a brief hesitation, the referees ruled that it crossed the goal line.
Roseburg cut the deficit in half in the 33rd when freshman midfielder Mahala Norris scored from about 25 yards out off an assist by Brittany Eggers.
After spending the first 10 minutes mostly chasing the Indians (5-5-1) around the field, the Grizzlies gained control of the game and ended up outshooting the visitors 13-9, including 10-4 on-goal.
"It's kind of what we've done all season long," Wolff said. "We kind of feel out the other team, see what they're like. We're always a little hesitant, a little nervous, and then once we realize, 'Hey, we can play with these girls,' then they start turning up the heat and are able to play good soccer."
At Grants Pass, Ashland registered its fourth straight Southern Oregon Hybrid victory, 23-25, 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 15-8 at Heater-Newman Memoria Gymnasium.
The Grizzlies got strong net play from outside hitter Shelby Minor (16 kills) and sophomore middle hitter Hope Baldrica (9 kills, 6 blocks).
Jordan Tilley, Ashland's sophomore setter, dished out 39 assists to go with five aces and four kills.
For Grants Pass (5-11), Haylee Rose scooped 39 digs, while the Caver front line of Emily Henderson, Amy Robinson and Caylee Simson combined for 37 kills.
At Roseburg, Roseburg (4-7) scored early and attacked often in a 3-0 win over Ashland (4-5) in nonleague play.