Douglas boys, girls win in playoffs
The Douglas boys soccer team is writing its own ending this time around.
Almost every one of the Tigers’ six losses this season came in the final two or three minutes in the game.
But while most teams would crumble in the face of so many late-game bad breaks, the Tigers have risen to the task as a team and, more importantly, have learned from what went wrong earlier in the season.
Kyle Currence played in an arcing ball from just over 20 yards out in the 50th minute of Saturday’s first round Northern 4A Regional playoff game against High Desert No. 1 seed Galena High School and Colten Mellows was there to put it in to give Douglas the only goal it would need in a 1-0 upset victory at the Carson High School soccer field.
“I’ve never had a group of kids work as a team this much and that was more devoted to each other than these guys,” Douglas coach Phil Sheridan said. “We’ve been doing this the hard way. We’ve had to survive, this is like our seventh-straight playoff game.
“We’ve been facing elimination for a long time.”
For as many games the Tiger had to leave the field thinking it couldn’t have ended any worse in the first half of the season, they have been finding ways through the second go-around, and now a game into the playoffs, to leave the field without any way to end it better, having only lost once through its last eight games.
Perhaps the most visible difference at the end of Saturday’s game was that Douglas aggressively pushed the ball upfield through the final 10 minutes, refusing to allow Galena any chance to attack.
“We kept the ball forward,” Sheridan said. “We knew if we went into defensive mode the ball was just going to be back on us and they’d be getting some shots. We had to possess the midfield and the guys did a great job of that.”
Douglas was forced to play the final five minutes of the game without Mellows, who drew two yellow cards in the game, forcing him to sit in the 75th minute.
Both teams went aggressively at one another and Mellows suffered a broken nose and Tiger forward Martin Rubio had a tooth knocked out. Still the Tigers played with a fire and a unity that Galena simply couldn’t match through the last 20 minutes of the game.
“I think we outplayed them in that second half,” Sheridan said. “We had the ball forward for a good majority of it.
“We kept possession of the ball, we created a lot of good scoring chances. This group can beat anybody if they play well.”
Mellows, Currence, Justin Norvell, Justin Grimm and Jeff Spencer all made significant contributions defensively and Jared Price came back to play sweeper in the second half to allow Mellows to go up top, and made some fantastic plays in back.
Nick Cohee and David Sturgess were key in controlling the midfield play and Rubio had several big shots on goal. Goalie Chris Aguilar made some big saves as well in posting the shutout for Douglas.
The Tigers, who came into the playoffs as the final seed from the Sierra League, play at Carson High again Tuesday against Wooster with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
DOUGLAS GIRLS 3, ELKO 0
You just can’t get away with leaving anyone unchecked in the Douglas girls soccer team’s lineup.
The Tigers got a goal from one of its big four, Allison Chapman, but then got one each from Courtney Lenhart and Skylar Young in an opening round win over High Desert No. 4 seed Elko in the Northern 4A State Championship playoffs at Carson High Saturday afternoon.
“I really like the fact that anyone can score on this team,” Douglas coach Fred Schmidt said. “Everyone except for our keeper has scored at least once and if that’s what it takes to win, I’ll take it any time.”
Douglas goalkeeper Hillary Winans posted her ninth shutout of the season, making six saves, and got stellar play defensively from Rachael Tappen, Samantha Perry, Alicia Sturgess, Alison Pyne, Lorelei Gettman, Meghan Olsen and Jessica Maule.
“It was good to get that shutout,” Schmidt said. “Hillary had to come up a couple of times to get the save and she did a good job of making it look easy by being at great angles and being in position.
“Defensively, we let their offense get behind us a couple times in the first half and that was scary, but we adjusted at halftime and did a much better marking job on defense in the second half.”
Douglas got up early as Christina Bradshaw crossed a nice pass in to Chapman, who was there for the goal in the third minute, putting the Tigers up 1-0.
Morgan LeFever dropped a beautiful ball for Courtney Lenhart, who one-timed an arcing shot from the top of the penalty box to put Douglas up 2-0 in the 14th minute.
Douglas completely peppered the Elko net with shots in the second half, but the Indians’ goalie came up with a number of spectacular saves.
“Their keeper played a great game,” Schmidt said. “She had at least five diving saves or blocks.”
The Tigers wrapped up the scoring in the 79th minute when LeFever put a corner kick into Chapman, who sent it in on net. Young took the rebound and scored, giving her two goals on the year.
“The desire and the level of hustle was good today,” Schmidt said. “We played with playoff intensity.
“We’re going to need to work on opening up the field this week, because there were times we really allowed them to shrink things up on us by playing the ball up the middle.”
Douglas will play High Desert No. 2 seed Galena, who beat Carson 2-1 in overtime Saturday, at Carson High Wednesday at 4 p.m.