Prep roundup: Vega fires at just the right time to give Tigers title
Her goal on her only shot gives Douglas crown
Gabriela Vega only took one shot Saturday, but she made it count in a big way for the Douglas High girls soccer team.
The senior scored in the 68th minute to break up a scoreless duel and lift the undefeated Tigers to a 1-0 victory against Galena in the Northern Division I Region Tournament finals on a warm autumn afternoon at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno.
Now, Douglas (24-0) is moving on to the NIAA Division I State Championships this coming Friday and Saturday at Heritage Park in Henderson.
The Tigers also gained a measure of revenge after last year’s 1-0 loss on the same field against Galena in the region semifinals. Galena went on to win the 2013 region championship.
“That was a typical title game, where one goal’s going to win it, one way or the other,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “I’m really happy for these kids after the disappointment they had last year … it’s like night and day.”
Galena (16-4-1), coming off a scoreless overtime struggle in the semifinals Thursday night that was ultimately decided in a shootout, took the field against Douglas with a game plan that started with defense. And the primary goal, according to coach Annie Di Loreto, was to slow down the Tigers’ Lexi von Schottenstein and McKenna Kynett.
“We needed to slow down No. 4 (von Schottenstein) and No. 1 (Kynett); they’re a lethal combination up top,” the Galena coach said. “The other was being able to possess the ball and work our way up the field.
“Douglas is a great team and they played well, and so did our girls.”
The Tigers enjoyed an 11-0 advantage on the shot chart in the first half, however, they were not able to capitalize. The best of those opportunities came in the 28th minute when Kynett had an open look on the right side and struck a grounder, only to see senior defender Saige Huene deflect the ball toward goalkeeper Greer Sullivan, who smothered the ball.
“We had some chances early, but we played tight,” Christen said. “Give Galena credit. They had a good game plan. We knew they were going to sit back and counter.”
The Tigers finally got their big break when Alissa Holley crossed the ball from the right side to Vega in front of the net. Vega turned and drove her 10-yard shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
“I really don’t know how it happened,” Vega said, smiling. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Vega saw her role expanded after fellow senior Emily Lawrence went to the bench after aggravating an injury she sustained Thursday in the Tigers’ 4-1 semifinal win against Spanish Springs.
“We had Gabby moving all over the place,” Christen said. “She’s a four-year varsity player, so for something like that to happen … what a way to go out.”
Later on, von Schottenstein had a shot carom off the crossbar. Galena had a couple of shots on goal, the last from the right side was slapped away by senior goalkeeper Corryne Millett to preserve the Tigers 15th shutout of the season.
“I was nervous the whole game,” Vega said. “I was just hoping we’d get one in and we did. I’m so proud of our team.”
Dayton falls in four
Dayton was eliminated in the regional semifinals against Elko, losing 25-20, 15-25, 16-25, 22-25.
Shalia Powell had 30 assists, seven digs and two blocks, Cheyanne Strong had 19 kills and five digs, Kaylee Turner had 11 kills and four blocks, Kassie Strong had four kills and four blocks, Makenna Olsen had two kills, Elvia Diaz had 10 digs and Kallie Strong added five digs.