Douglas girls soccer falls to South Tahoe
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – From the first half on, Wednesday’s Douglas-South Tahoe girls soccer match looked like the outcome would hinge on who made the first mistake or who would get the first break.
And the first break went to the Vikings.
South Tahoe junior Cassidy Berg drew in three Douglas defenders as she chipped the ball downfield to senior Allison Fox, who beat Tigers goalkeeper Jamie Greer in the 65th minute and the Vikings went on to score a 1-0 victory in the semifinals of the NIAA Northern 4A state championships at Damonte Ranch High School.
South Tahoe, now 16-0, will face Reed – a 1-0 winner over McQueen – in the championship game Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
“The whole key was to show the same intensity today that we did in practice,” said South Tahoe coach Clint Lockhart. “We did that from start to finish. I think Douglas played a very defensive game. They forced the ball up the middle. I don’t know if they got more than one or two crosses off. They were trying to shove the ball down our throat.”
The Tigers, who dropped both regular-season games to their Sierra League rival (4-0 and 2-0), could manage only two shots in the direction of the smothering Vikings defense.
Greer made five saves for Douglas, which ended its season at 10-5-1, while South Tahoe keeper Candace Prescott was forced to clean up only one shot from about 30 yards out in the 51st minute.
The undefeated Vikings had 10 shots, including seven in the second half.
“I think it was very physical,” Tigers coach Lorraine Fitzhugh said. “We showed a lot of determination. We came to play our game and put all of our passes together. Defense first makes for the best offense. (The Tigers) played their hearts out. I’m very proud. There are no chins down. We left it on the field. It didn’t go our way. One shot – that’s how soccer goes sometimes.”
Neither team threatened until the 17th minute, when Greer rushed out of the net to smother the ball before speeding Vikings senior forward Morgan Cook could get off a shot.
Nine minutes later, with Greer on the ground, junior Sage Lyons cleared out a loose ball near the mouth of the goal.
Douglas had its best opportunity in extra time of the first half when Tianna Gregory got off a header in front of the Vikings’ net, but amid a sea of bodies the ball was cleared before the Tigers could get a foot on it.
Lockhart said the Tigers attack was somewhat predictable.
“They really didn’t seem to change much (since their first two meetings),” he said. “Douglas likes to move the ball down the middle. They take a couple of short passes and send it in. They tend to force the issue instead of sending it out wide.”
Fitzhugh said the Tigers’ passing had more to do with distance than quantity.
“We tried to work longer and longer passes today,” she said. “I’m proud of the type of soccer we play. We have a great base to build on for the future. I knew all season that our team was as strong as it was today. This time we sent a message that we were a better team (than the first two times). We accomplished all we were looking to do.”
Now it will be up to the Vikings to do what they’ve done twice this season – beat Reed – in order to win their first Northern state championship.
The Vikings beat Reed 1-0 in the Galena Tournament early in the season and later followed with a 2-1 win at South Tahoe.
Reed finished 7-0-5 to win the High Desert League championship. In addition to beating McQueen, it also took a 2-1 victory (in penalty kicks) over Spanish Springs in the first round of the playoffs.
“Reed looks like they’ve improved since we played them in the beginning of the season,” Lockhart said. “They should be different. By the same token, we’re different, too. I’m expecting a great game.”