Boys fall at state soccer championships
Green Valley used a one-two punch from a couple of Tysons to beat Douglas, 2-1, Friday in the first round of the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State soccer championships at Carson High.
The Tigers took an early lead when Robby Honer scored on a long free kick, but the Gators battled back in a physical game that threatened to get chippy throughout the first half.
Green Valley’s Tyson Miller scored after a brief scramble following a corner kick from Corey Roberts with 12 minutes to play before the intermission, tying the game 1-1 at the half.
Tyson Urashima got the game-winner for the Gators when he turned a Green Valley counter attack into a goal with 25 minutes remaining.
Douglas goal keeper Chad Love stopped a point-blank shot by Miller with 11 minutes to play to keep his team in the game. The Tigers created a couple of decent scoring chances late in the contest, but couldn’t find the net.
Douglas coach Philip Sheridan said the physical nature of the game took his players out of their usual ball-control mindset.
“It always does,” the coach said. “If they’re knocking the tar out of you, you have to get out there and keep playing. We got some calls where we got cracked really hard, which I thought should have been called, and our kids were retaliating and it went against us.
“But that was only the first half. Second half, I thought our kids played toe-to-toe with them. The physical play didn’t bother us. They just outplayed us. They finished when they had the opportunity and we didn’t get any really quality shots off.”
Green Valley coach Ken Goettsche said his Gators aren’t afraid of the rough stuff, even if they don’t see a whole lot of it in the South.
“We’re definitely a physical team, but we’ve never actually played a team as physical as Douglas was,” he said. “My guys were ready for it. They like playing physical. They’re aggressive.”
Douglas senior T.J. Plummer is a scrappy player who will go shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone, but he admitted it took most of the first half for him and his teammates to get into to the rough pace of Friday’s game.
“We came out and we didn’t know what to expect,” Plummer said. “We heard they were physical, but we weren’t ready for it. At the beginning, we were really off track. Your worried about if a guy’s going to come up and hit you or not. It’s a big mental change. That was definitely the most physical team we saw all year.
“I think we adjusted well later on in the game, playing more physical.”
Despite the season-ending loss, Sheridan was pleased with the effort.
“I thought the possession time was in their favor, they beat us in the air and they held the ball real well,” the coach said. “I give them (the Gators) a lot of credit. They played a good game, but I thought we hung in there. If we get a couple of opportunities and put something in, who knows what will happen.
“I’m real proud of the kids. They had a great year.”