Boys’ Soccer: Douglas advances to state title game
After last weekend’s regional title win over South Tahoe, Douglas boys’ soccer coach Milko Vasquez called starting goalie Jose Alcaraz the team’s MVP.
Alcaraz lived up to that billing Friday night as Douglas prevailed 2-1 over Silverado in the first round of the state tournament in a marathon game that ended with the Tigers winning a 3-2 penalty kick shootout at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno.
Alcaraz was simply all over the field in the win. Aside from recording 10 saves in net — one of which saved the Tigers’ season in sudden-death overtime, and the last of which set the Tigers up for the win — he played a key seven minutes in the field during which he helped set up Douglas’ game-tying goal.
And to top it all off, it was Alcaraz who stepped to the line in the final round of the penalty shootout and planted the ball in the upper portion of the net for the win.
Not at all to say that it was Alcaraz alone who led the Tigers to their first win in a state playoff game in school history.
Douglas got an outstanding effort from its defensive core of Kyle Gardner, Brian Randall, Ray Kaffer and Geoff Rahe, had career games on the outside wings from Brian Jaggard and Andrew Andraski and held the edge in scoring chances for the game, out-shooting Silverado 15-13 during the course of the 110-minute match to push ahead for the win.
Douglas came out attacking from the opening kick and nearly got on the board in the eighth minute when Edgar Arceo blistered a shot in from 30 yards out that sailed just high over the net.
Arceo just grazed the crossbar on a nearly identical shot 20 minutes later but the ball ricocheted up and got caught in the back of the net, momentarily making it appear as though the shot had gone in.
Douglas also got forward Jeff Crozier, who had missed much of the second half of the season with an injury to his leg, back for the game and he put a tricky shot on net in the 31st minute that traveled just wide of the post.
Through the first 30 minutes of the game, Douglas held a 4-1 advantage in shots, but then Silverado reversed its strategy and got off five of the game’s next six shots.
In the 36th minute, Douglas suffered a miscommunication on defense as Alcaraz went up to make a play on a long shot coming in from about midfield off the foot of Omar Sanchez. A defender didn’t hear Alcaraz’s call and headed the ball toward the net with the assumption that Alcaraz had remained back.
Instead, the net was left open with the ball trickling toward it and Silverado’s Bradon Romano tapped the ball in for the 1-0 lead.
The Tigers nearly tied the game up three minutes later when Eddie Vega turned a bicycle kick that traveled to the left side in front of the net and Oscar Gonzalez was able to put his head on the ball, but it traveled wide.
Silverado had a chance to take a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute on a pretty bender from 25 yards out, but Alcaraz made a fingertip save on it to keep Douglas within one.
The Tigers again had a chance to tie the game up when Rahe sent a hard through ball to Arceo near the top of the goal box and Arceo pounded a shot through to the left side, only to have it clang off the post.
Alcaraz came out to defense in the 67th minute in order to bolster Douglas’ attack. He was replaced in net by Corbin Zumpft.
Almost immediately, Alcaraz sent a ball up the middle, which Vega was able to chase down with position in front of the net, but he was hauled down from behind on the play.
Although nothing was called then, Alcaraz sent a ball through again in the 69th minute, and Vega made a nice flick move behind his back to beat the defender into the penalty box only to be hauled down from behind again.
This time, Douglas was awarded with a penalty kick, and Arceo put it in the upper right corner to tie the game.
Alcaraz went back into the net after the tying goal.
The game entered the first overtime still tied at one and Alcaraz made perhaps the save of his career in the 97th minute when Silverado sent a shot that appeared to be headed for an open net.
Alcaraz chased the ball down in midair, caught with his fingertips from behind and scooped it away just before crossing the goal line.
In the second overtime, he made another diving save, this one to his left in the 105th minute, to help send the game into the shootout.
Silverado converted its first penalty kick, burying a shot to the left side and Douglas’ first shot clanged off the right post.
Silverado converted its second and Vega’s shot for Douglas was blocked, giving 2-0 edge to the Skyhawks.
All the Skyhawks needed was to convert one more shot to at least clinch another round of penalty kicks, if not the win entirely, but it wouldn’t happen.
Their goalkeeper sent his shot in Round 3 well high and Randall put in his shot for Douglas to narrow the score to 2-1.
Another Silverado shot was chipped high and Arceo beat the keeper to the right to tie the score at two, setting up the final round.
Alcaraz came up with a save on the shot, diving to his left to block it and then took his turn as a shooter, putting it just off center to upper part of the net for the win.
Douglas advanced to play Bishop Gorman for the state championship Saturday at 2 p.m. at Damonte Ranch.