Prep soccer fans living in Ashland will get a rare treat today when the Ashland High boys and girls soccer teams host a Class 5A play-in doubleheader at North Mountain Park.
The 15th-ranked Ashland High girls, who won the two-team Southern Oregon Hybrid 5A conference, will take the field first at 2 p.m. for their do-or-die match against the 18th-ranked Sutherlin Bulldogs. The boys game between 15th-ranked Ashland and 20th-ranked Churchill is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Led by senior Sadie Bailey, the Grizz girls (8-3-2) will be gunning for their fifth win in a row.
"I'm not really worried about Lebanon," Ashland girls coach Eric Wolff said. "I'm just worried about us. I told the girls, if they come out and play as well as they can play then I know we'll be fine."
Lebanon (6-6-2), which finished sixth in the Mid-Willamette Conference, has scored 31 goals, three more than the Grizzlies, but the Bulldogs have also surrendered 21 goals to Ashland's 14.
Wolff says the Grizzlies are ready for the challenge.
"The girls have approached this week exactly the same way that they've approached every week," Wolff said. "The team chemistry is very nice. The girls don't get themselves too stressed out."
Ashland boys (7-5-1) will face the Churchill Lancers (6-6-1) in a rematch of the 2008 state championship game, which Churhill won 3-1.
The SOH-champion Grizzlies are led by a host of senior, including halfback Nick Chouard (eight goals, eight assists), fullback Gabe Young and forwards Geronimo Garcia-Ayala and Andres Garcia. Ashland takes a two-game winning streak into the game. Churchill, which has lost two in a row, finished third in District 3.
"We are happy with the season, how it's going," Ashland boys head coach Abdiaziz Guled said. "The kids did a wonderful job with the way they finished the season and now it's the playoffs, so they are ready to move forward and see how far they can go. We'll see what happens."
Saturday's winners advance to the 16-team state tournament.