Douglas girls shut out Sparks in soccer match-up |

Douglas girls shut out Sparks in soccer match-up

by Chuck Smock, sports editor

Andrea Chaney broke a scoreless tie with a goal midway through the second half Tuesday, leading the Douglas Tigers to a 1-0 win over Sparks High in the season-opening game for both teams.

Lindsee Porter got the assist when she crossed a ball into the box from the right side. A Sparks defender and the Railroaders goalkeeper miscommunicated on the play, allowing Chaney to steal the ball. She then drilled a left-footed shot into an open net for the game-winner.

The Tigers went into the game with only 15 players in uniform. And 10 of those players had never played varsity soccer before.

“Given that, we’re obviously pleased with the result,” DHS coach Fred Schmidt said. “The defense played pretty solid. The midfield was inconsistent, and that reflects the inexperience. We had spurts when we passed the ball well and won balls aggressively, but we also had spurts when we didn’t look like we knew what we were doing.

“We clearly need to work on our possession game. That will come when the players get more comfortable.”

Senior goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio made several nice saves, including charging from the goal to stop a one-on-one breakaway, to record the shutout.

Defenders Jessica Girdner, Jessica Brady, Kristie Gearty, Dara Harris and Kelsey Newell all played well on the back line, Schmidt said.

“We outplayed Sparks and we deserved to win the game, but we did not outplay them by a lot,” the coach said. “We did not look like a well-oiled machine.”

Schmidt was particularly proud of two aspects of his team’s play Tuesday. The Tigers maintained a high level of intensity and effort throughout the game and their conditioning appeared to be superior to the Railroaders, he said.

“We clearly wore them down,” Schmidt said. “We continued to pressure them and had some of our better (scoring) chances in the last 10 minutes of the game. We’ve been working pretty hard and it paid off.”

Douglas will play host to Reed High today at 1 p.m. at the DHS soccer field. The Raiders were the only team to defeat the Tigers in the regular season last year.

“This will be a very tough test,” Schmidt said. “Reed is going to have a lot more experience going in. They have a good number of players back from last year. Ashley and our defenders will be tested.”

The Douglas junior varsity opened its season Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Sparks. Hannah Sullivan, Michelle Ward and Amber Cornelius each scored one goal for the Tigers. Sullivan and Natalie Romanowitz each had one assist.

Douglas JV coach Ralph Johnson was quick to praise a defensive effort that resulted in only one touch for his goalkeeper. The coach said Rachel Frank, Erin Granat, Kristy Olsen and McKenna Feletar all played well on the back line.