Boys’ Soccer: Tigers win another first-round thriller
There are certain things the Douglas boys’ soccer team have made hallmarks of their trips to the playoffs in the last six years.
One, you know its going to be close. Ten of the 12 playoff games the Tigers have played in during that stretch have been decided by one goal or less.
Two, you know there’s likely going to be a barnburner of a finish. Three of those one-goal games have gone to an overtime shootout. Another was decided on a goal in the closing seconds of the game.
And three, you never, ever count the Tigers out against a higher seed from the High Desert League.
Douglas lived up to all three distinctions Friday night at Damonte Ranch, taking the High Desert League champion Reed Raiders through two overtimes before claiming a 2-1 victory by way of winning a penalty kick shooting 5-4 to advance to the regional semifinals.
The win marked the third time in the last six years the Tigers have entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed out of the Sierra League and knocked out the other side’s league champion in the first round. It was also the fourth time during the same period that Douglas has topped a higher seed in the first round.
Douglas also extended its first-round unbeaten streak to five and have not lost in the first round of the regional playoffs since 2000.
“It was a great way to start the playoffs,” Douglas coach Milko Vasquez said. “It was a great game and the seniors did an excellent job leading this team.
“It’s just a great win for the program.”
Douglas’ Edgar Arceo scored in the 15th minute to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the game, but Reed answered five minutes later on an indirect kick.
From there, the opposing defenses stepped up to keep the game deadlocked through the remainder of regulation and the two 15-minute overtime periods.
In the shootout, Brian Randall, Cole Cline, Ivan Gonzalez and Corbin Zumpft converted on Douglas’ first four penalty kicks, while Reed matched them shot for shot.
On Reed’s fifth shot, Tiger keeper Ivan Gonzalez stepped up and made an excellent save, leaving Arceo with the last shot.
Arceo punched it in for the win, pushing the Tigers to semifinals.
“We played with a lot of heart throughout,” Douglas coach Milko Vasquez said. “These kids won’t be intimidated by anyone. They went out there and did their job.”
Douglas faces Galena Wednesday night at 5 p.m. at Damonte Ranch. The Tigers beat the Grizzlies 1-0 in Reno in September, but lost 4-1 in Minden in October.
Since that game, Douglas is 5-1-1.