Douglas boys soccer ousted by McQueen in first round of the 4A playoffs

RENO - In the month of October, the McQueen High School boys soccer team only allowed three goals.

On Monday in the first round of the Northern 4A Regional Tournament, Douglas found out why. The stingy Lancer defense held the Tigers scoreless while Chris Willison provided all of McQueen's scoring as the the Lancers knocked Douglas out of the 4A playoffs with their 3-0 win over the Tigers.

The Lancers (11-3-3) now play South Tahoe in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Both the semifinals and finals are played at Reed High in Sparks.

In the first half against Douglas, Willison put the Lancers up 1-0 seven minutes before halftime after he chased down a ball, beat a Tiger defender and then slotted a shot past goalie Nate Gardner.

In the second half, just as in the first, Douglas controlled much of the play but didn't generate quality scoring chances. Playmakers Robby Honer and Gieorag Andrews struggled to get touches on the ball because the Lancers boomed the ball down the field every chance they had.

"We had 90 percent of the possession in the game," Douglas coach Phil Sheridan said. "In the first half, the ball was in their half of the field most of the time. We outplayed them everywhere, except at scoring goals."

At the beginning of the second half, Sheridan pushed players forward looking for the tying goal. Several times, though, the Lancers counterattacked with a long ball and nearly scored. But Gardner made a couple big saves for the Tigers that kept the score at 1-0.

After blocking a shot in the 76th minute, Gardner was then whistled for holding onto Willison inside the penalty box. Even though Willison wouldn't have been able to get to the ball, Gardner's foul set up a McQueen penalty kick. Gardner blocked Willison's attempt but he followed up his shot and put away the next one for a 2-0 Lancer lead. Then two minutes later, Gardner's attempted clearance ricocheted off Willison's back and rolled into the goal that gave McQueen its final lead at 3-0.

McQueen coach Tony Filicchia agreed that Douglas possessed the ball more than his team. But he also said the Lancers' direct style of play suits the players on the team and has been successful for them.

"We've played that way the entire season," Filicchia said. "Today's game was the poorest that our mid-field has played. But our strengths aren't in the center of the field, so we try and get the ball wide and long. That's our only option."

"As far as the game of soccer, I thought we played well enough to win," Sheridan said. "I wish we could've won because we were right there. But we didn't."

The Tigers finished the season at 7-7-3 after ending the season with three straight losses.

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