Douglas High girls soccer
Douglas High's Ava Coons puts a shot on net Saturday. Coons tallied the game winner in the 71st minute to lead the Tigers girls' soccer team past McQueen.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
Though Douglas was pushing the tempo Saturday afternoon, Douglas High girls soccer and McQueen sat level at 1-1 through 70 minutes.
That is until another sophomore came through in the clutch for Douglas.
On a corner kick in the 71st minute, a touch from Camden Miller allowed the ball to reach the far post where Coons was waiting.
With a quick left-footed volley, the sophomore forward buried her fifth goal of the season inside the near post.
It served as the game-winner as Douglas won its home opener, 2-1, in a regional semifinal rematch from the spring against McQueen.
“That’s what playing good soccer does. We have a system and we controlled most of the game,” said Douglas head coach Andrew Robles.
Sophomores Zoe Baligad and Beatrice Henry-Greard both gave the Tigers good looks on net in the second half as well.
Henry-Greard sent her shot in the 60th minute just over top of the crossbar.
(Seara MacPherson looks to pass the ball away from McQueen's Arianna Martinez Saturday at home / Ron Harpin)Escaping the slow start
The Tiger girls had fallen behind in each of their first four matches.
It didn’t happen on the home grass Saturday, as Campbell Dedmon needed a little more than three minutes to slot the opener.
From the right side of the 18-yard box, Dedmon sent the ball across the face of net and into the side netting.
Aleeah Weaver was credited with an assist on the play.
It marked the first time this season the Tigers had led first in a contest.
“We’re still getting our momentum from not training a month due to bad air quality,” said Robles. “Every game we play against opponents, we are a good team and we are just getting better.”
Douglas attempted at least four corner kicks Saturday afternoon before the Lancers got their first serious chance on net.
However, the Lancers did take advantage of a counter just moments before the half when Cydonah Blackman tapped in a cross from Alyssa Allan.
Blackman almost struck again in the closing seconds of regulation with a 35-yard free kick that glanced off the crossbar.
“They have one of the best forwards in our conference,” said Robles of Blackman. “She went in there and beat our players behind on a one-time finish, it was all quality. It just shows how good she is.”
However, it was once again the Douglas sophomores up front giving the Tigers the final say.
Given their play already this season, Robles knows opposing teams are going to have to deal with tough players for the next several years.
“They know they are the future of the offensive end for our team. … It would be bad as me as a coach to have that talent and not maximize it,” said Robles. “It just shows the depth of our team.”
UP NEXT: Douglas (3-1-1) will be home again Tuesday as the Tigers take on Reed (4-1-1) at 6:45 p.m.
To read the Tigers’ season preview, follow this link: https://www.recordcourier.com/news/2021/sep/05/its-our-year/
(Douglas High's Zoe Baligad (14) battles for the ball with McQueen's Sophia Barber Saturday / Ron Harpin)