SOCCER STATE TOURNAMENT: Douglas finally gets its win over Carson
RENO – It’s a matchup that has been looming on the Douglas girls’ soccer mindset for the last two years.
In four matchups over the past two years, Douglas had settled for three ties against the rival Carson Senators and suffered a loss to the Senators earlier this season on a goal in the final minutes.
It was a given that the two teams were going to meet sometime, somewhere in the postseason.
That time came Friday night in the state semifinals at Damonte Ranch and in the end, Carson held the advantage nearly everywhere except where it mattered most – on the scoreboard.
Douglas advanced to the state title game with a 2-0 win that saw the Senators carry the edge in shots (20-9), time of possession and overall scoring chances.
“It’s just one of those things,” Carson coach Randy Roser said. “You outplay them, but you lose the game.
“We dominated possession, we had the ball in their half a ton of the time. There was a point where we could easily have been leading 2-1. We played how we train – control the ball and control possession. We outplayed them in every area of the game, but this time of year, it is the scoreboard that counts.”
Indeed, Douglas made quick work of getting on the scoreboard as Katie Dry broke loose for a long run down the right wing. She crossed wide for an unmarked Tia Lyons, who hammered it for the goal in the third minute.
“We just missed a mark and that hurt us,” Roser said. “We told the girls all week, if you get down 1-0, it’ll be tough to come back.”
Carson ramped up its pressure after that, outshooting Douglas 10-6 in the first half and stringing together no less than seven solid scoring chances.
Tiger keeper Bri Randall, though, came up big with six of her 13 saves in the first half while the Tiger defense of Holly Downer, Shannon Prinz, Erica Macias and Erica Arrellano managed to hold off some of the pressure.
Carson’s best first-half chance came in the 27th minute when Kenzie Tillitt crossed for Kaitlyn Holmes, who sent a long, high arcing shot from just five yards out. Randall leapt to haul it in with her fingertips, ending the threat.
“We were having trouble clearing the ball in front of the goal mouth,” Douglas coach Lorraine Fitzhugh said. “It’s something we’ve had to work on, but we adjusted well in the second half.
“The girls game and rallied and connected at the right times.”
Douglas extended its lead to 2-0 in the 55th minute, this time with Lyons sending a clear up top that sprung Dry with one defender to beat before Emmy Heller. Dry and the Carson defender collided. Dry recovered first, chased the ball three yards back upfield and shot it past Heller from 15 yards out.
After that, Douglas moved its fastest players, namely Dry, to the back, to prevent any late comebacks.
Douglas battles Galena, a 2-1 winner over Pahrump Valley, in the state title game at noon today at Damonte Ranch. The Tigers beat Galena 2-1 last weekend in the regional title game.