Douglas rallies vs. Carson to keep streak alive
Appeal Sports Writer
MINDEN – Perhaps it’s a myth, perhaps it’s a mindset but, then again, maybe the Douglas Tigers girls soccer team really does have a quantifiable advantage when it plays at home.
After rallying to a 2-2 draw with the Carson Senators at Keith Roman Field on Thursday, the Tigers have now gone 17 consecutive matches without a loss at Douglas High School.
Unsung senior Sarah Hartley, who hasn’t played soccer since she was a freshman on the Tigers junior varsity squad, took a pass from senior defender Lisa Christen and booted the ball past Carson goalkeeper Jennifer Johnson to tie the game at 2-2 in extra time, preserving the Tigers’ streak.
“Sarah Hartley has got the wheels on our team,” Douglas coach Lorraine Fitzhugh said. “She was playing outside (forward) and we’ve moved her to center forward. She has a lot of speed and she’s goal-hungry. It was a team effort that got that ball to her.”
The Tigers came out a little hungrier than the Senators in the first half, outshooting them 5-3 and held a 1-0 lead after the first 40 minutes. Junior Dany Heidt took a throw-in inside the 18-yard box and put it into the right side of the net to give Douglas the early advantage.
“We handled a physical game – I’m very happy with that,” Fitzhugh said. “It led to a lot of possession (ball) and creating a lot of opportunities. The tie with Carson and the fact that we’re not peaking yet has us right where we want to be. We were in a lull the last couple weeks.
“We were digging from every position. It’s a tight field, a fast field and we’ve got the skill to handle that.”
Carson turned the tables on Douglas in the second half, outshooting them 7-4. Senators sophomore Megan Jackson pumped up her team with a bender from about 20 yards out to tie the game 1-1 in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, fellow sophomore Brenda Luquin headed a cross from junior Helaine Berris past Douglas keeper Jamie Greer to give the Senators a 2-1 lead and gave them all kinds of momentum.
Luquin was knocked down inside the box on the play and hit her head on the inside of the goalpost.
Greer played an aggressive game, often coming out of the net to prevent shots. She finished with five saves. Johnson had two saves.
Carson coach Randy Roser wasn’t pleased playing on the football field, whose width measures the minimum 55 yards.
“The field’s too narrow by 20 yards,” Roser said. “It’s a straight-forward game. It was about who could get on the end of the long ball. Any ball through was a through ball. It never became a very controlled game.”
Carson was missing two players, sophomore Emily Field and speedy senior forward Kayla Sanchez. The pair violated an unspecified school policy and will return Oct. 26.
Carson’s passing wasn’t as crisp as usual, especially in the first half, and Johnson was forced to make an adjustment by venturing farther out of the net.
“The game was all about direct attack,” Roser said. “Johnson had to pick up the ball at the top of the 18 instead of waiting for it. It makes for an ugly game of soccer. If we put together three passes, we were having success. We get six or seven passes usually.”
Carson remained in second place with the draw and is now 8-2-2 in the Sierra League and 17-3-2 overall. Douglas is in third at 8-3-1 and will travel to North Valleys for an 11 a.m. game on Saturday.
“Both sides played well,” Fitzhugh said. “We’re building our momentum. We’re where we’re checking each game off our list.”
The draw was also sweet redemption for the Tigers after a 5-2 loss at Carson in their first meeting this season.
“It’s always hard to win at Carson,” Fitzhugh said. “That field is quite a bit wider than ours. That particular game was a lull for us. That wasn’t the true team we knew we could be. We’re back.”
Carson has two games remaining and will look to strengthen its hold on second place when it travels to Damonte Ranch on Saturday. Carson won the first meeting with the Mustangs. The game begins at 11 a.m.
The Senators will host North Valleys in the regular-season finale on Tuesday. The Northern 4A girls state playoffs begin Oct. 27.