Boys’ Soccer: Tigers advance to regional title game
Ask any member of the Douglas boys’ soccer team what the low point of the season was for them and they’ll likely point back to an Oct. 7 matchup against Galena in Minden.
The Grizzlies pounded out four goals in the first 20 minutes of that game on their way to an easy 4-1 win.
The Tigers brought the memories of that game full circle Wednesday night, scoring three goals in the first 24 minutes on their way to a 4-1 win over the defending Northern 4A Regional champs.
Senior Cole Cline had a monster game, scoring a goal and dishing out three assists.
With the win, Douglas advanced to its third regional title game in the last six years. The Tigers will play either Manogue or Hug Saturday at 4 p.m. at Damonte Ranch for the regional championship. They also clinched a spot in next week’s state tournament.
“That game earlier this season was definitely a motivating factor for us,” Douglas coach Milko Vasquez said. “We didn’t show up for that game.
“Tonight though, the emotion the kids came out with, the control and the intensity they showed, they just executed so well. I mean, all those goals were beautiful tonight. They came from putting pressure on the ball and playing in their box.
“That’s what we preach. If you do those things, good things will happen.”
Douglas’ first goal came on a beautiful cross from Cole Cline to Edgar Gonzalez, who was waiting unchecked toward the right side of the net. Gonzalez headed the ball in to give the Tigers the lead just seven minutes in.
A corner kick from Cline six minutes later sailed just over the outstretched fingers of Galena’s keeper, right to Tyler Bankofier’s feet. Bankofier left little doubt, firing the ball into the back of the net from about five yards out.
Douglas put its third goal in on a nice setup from Bankofier in the 24th minute. Bankofier looped a pass over the Galena defense, which sprung Cline loose one-on-one with the Galena keeper. Cline sent it over the keeper and easily into the net for the 3-0 lead.
Fernando Ramos headed in another cross from Cline for the Tigers’ fourth goal of the night in the 50th minute. Galena added a late goal on a nice ground shot to the far post, but couldn’t manage anything more.
“The kids executed out game plan,” Vasquez said. “The width of this field really opens up the crosses. They had a great practice yesterday, they were going hard the whole time and they came in today and did exactly what we’d asked them to do.”
Galena actually outshot the Tigers 22-11 in the game, but the Tiger defense was so strong in the middle that most of the Grizzlies’ shots came from well outside the penalty box.
“Galena had some great shots, but they were mostly from the outside,” Vasquez said. “We kept them out of our box for the most part and I’ll take my chances with our goalie any day.”
Indeed, Tiger keeper Ivan Gonzalez had a very solid game, coming up with 10 saves, including a number of highlight-reel stops in the second half.
The win was especially impressive considering Douglas had to fight through the last two weeks of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. The Tigers, though, are now 6-1-1 since the loss to Galena.
“They are going to state, that’s great for them,” Vasquez said. “All their hard work is paying off. The next step is Saturday, though.”