Aided by a driving north wind and two perfectly-executed set play on corner kicks, the fourth-ranked Reed High girls' soccer team pulled off a major upset of the top-ranked Douglas Tigers in the Nevada 4A State Championship game at Damonte Ranch Saturday afternoon.
Reed claimed a 3-1 win to repeat as Northern 4A champs and handed Douglas just its second loss of the season.
The Tigers couldn't recover from what was for all intents and purposes a disastrous first half during which the Raiders dominated possession, outshot the Tigers 12-5 and jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
One of the major factors early on was an intense wind blowing at Reed's back and against the Tiger attack. Reed jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute when a corner kick from the right side crossed in front of the net for a Karina Espinoza goal.
A corner kick from the opposite side in the 26th minute quickly turned into Espinoza's second goal of the game on a perfectly-placed header.
Douglas, in the meantime, struggled to get its attack going as the wind played tricks on the Tigers' intricate passing game. It was 21 minutes into the game before Douglas was able to fire its first shot on net -- a Dany Heidt free kick that was headed just high off the cross bar and back into play, where Ally Freitas punched it in. The play was ruled a no-goal however, with the official saying the ball had initially traveled too high and thus out of bounds.
Trailing 2-0, Douglas got on the board on a well-placed cross from Alex Laing that CJ Baumgartner, who was slashing in from the left, one-touched sharply on the ground for the goal in the 34th minute.
The momentum was quickly lost, however, as Reed got a fortunate bounce behind the Tiger defense on the ensuing kickoff and Kelsey Gomer collected it and fired it high in the right corner for the 3-1 lead.
From there, the Raiders were content to play for the win, packing as many as seven and eight players back into the penalty box to stave off the potent Douglas attack once the Tigers got the wind to their back.
Douglas dominated both the possession and the total scoring chances in the second half, outshooting the Raiders 12-1 and setting up for five corner kicks. The Tigers had two strong shots bounce off the cross bar and Ally Freitas had one shot that the Reed keeper just barely got her fingertips on.
The Raider defense clamped down through the final 15 minutes, going a full 10-minute stretch without allowing a shot despite Douglas bringing up to eight players on the attack.
The loss dropped Douglas to 19-2-2 on the year. The Tigers broke the school record for most wins in a season this year and clinched the Sierra League title along the way.
Douglas got a big game from Shannon Hubbard on the right defensive side while Heidt was strong in the middle along with Kelly D'Amico.