RENO -After jumping out to a 2-1 lead in the first half against Galena on Tuesday, the Douglas High girls soccer team took steps towards becoming the team coach Fred Schmidt wants them to become. They were aggressive, strong defensively, and most importantly, they scored goals.
But then in the second, the Grizzlies scored two goals and showed Douglas why they are one of the top teams in Northern Nevada by coming from behind to beat the Tigers 3-2.
"Our inexperience once we got up on a good team showed," Douglas coach Fred Schmidt said. "We did not continue to play as the better team."
The Tigers fall to 3-2 on the season, dropping them two games behind Sierra League front runners Reno and Carson, who are both undefeated. Galena improves to 3-1 and along with Reed, appear to be the two strongest teams in the High Desert League.
"We're going to have to play some catch-up," Schmidt said. "It's only five games into the season and this team has a lot of varsity playing left to go before they feel comfortable in big games like this."
The Tigers got on the scoreboard early in the first half when mid-fielder Britney Christen beat a Grizzly defender down the sideline and then with her left foot, crossed the ball into the Galena penalty box. Teammate Amber Gwinn was left unmarked and then flicked the ball past goalie Jayleen Chen to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
15 minutes later, Douglas went up 2-0 after Gwinn scored her second goal of the half off an assist by Kali Schmidt. But just minutes later, Galena's Bianca Sciotta made it 2-1, bringing the Grizzlies to within a goal at half-time.
"We remembered from earlier games against good teams that once we got ahead, that if we didn't play with intensity but played with poise, we'd be playing defense all half," Schmidt said. "At the beginning of the second half, I thought we didn't do that."
Early in the second, Douglas continued to keep the pressure on the Grizzly defense. They peppered Chen with shot after shot, including one series where Douglas fired two shots off the goal post.
"We had some great chances that we just didn't put away," Schmidt said. "And I think when we didn't score, that we got a little frustrated. If we put some of those away, we wouldn't have lost the game."
Then after sustaining the Tigers in the first part of the second, Galena tied the game at 2-2. After a scramble in the front of the Douglas goal, Meghan Baumbach drilled a low shot past goalie Ashley Sulprizio, who got a touch on the ball but then saw it skid off her gloves and into the goal.
"When you have the one of the best players in the league make a mistake like that, I think everybody lets down a bit," Schmidt said of his teams reaction to Sulprizio's mishap.
Then 10 minutes later, Amy Jackson completed Galena's comeback with her shot that rolled under Sulprizio to finish the scoring at 3-2.
"It's always very encouraging to come back from 2-0 down against teams the caliber of Douglas," said Galena Sean Canty. "My team showed a lot of heart out there."