Douglas girls wrap up unbeaten season
Julia Spaulding was in the right place at the right time as the Douglas High girls soccer team wrapped up its first undefeated conference season Tuesday afternoon.
Spaulding’s goal in the 80th minute lifted the Tigers to a 1-0 regular-season ending Northern 4A victory at home against Reno, a win that improved their conference record to 14-0-4
It marks the first unbeaten season for the Douglas girls, and maybe more, according to coach Fred Schmidt.
“As far as we know, no other team in this league has gone undefeated since girls soccer began up here,” Schmidt said. “The ironic thing is, we had four ties and ended up second in our own division (behind once-beaten Carson).”
Tuesday’s verdict also gave the Tigers a measure of revenge from last season, when all three of Douglas’ losses came against Reno. The last of those losses came in the zone tournament semifinals, a game Reno won 2-1 in a shoot-out.
Tuesday’s game literally came down to the last shot. With time winding down, Mariah Weigel placed a high ball into the box and Spaulding cashed in with a left-foot blast into the upper left corner of the net for the game’s only score – just 40 seconds before the final whistle blew.
“Mariah chipped the ball nicely and Abby Aldrich compromised the defense by fighting for the ball up in the air,” Schmidt said. “The ball deflected, and when it came down, Julia was right there for the shot. The keeper was in her line, but Julia hit it so hard, it didn’t matter.
“Julia is a money player. She produces when the game is on the line.”
Spaulding has 17 goals for the season, including a late score that enabled Douglas to pull out a tie at Galena on Oct. 6.
The Tigers and Huskies had other scoring chances in their defensive struggle. Douglas missed a golden opportunity in the 62nd minute when Jenelle McNulty shot into an open net, only to see the ball carom off the left post. McNulty scrambled for a follow shot, but Reno sweeper Natalie Green cleared the ball out.
The Douglas defense was bolstered by stopper Erin Bell, who went out with a sprained ankle 15 minutes into the second half, and then by her replacement, Kelsey Newell.
Goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio was credited with nine saves, including one in the first half in which she went to the ground to the left post and another where she flicked the ball over the crossbar.
“She’s solid,” Schmidt said of the sophomore goalkeeper. “I wouldn’t trade her for any other keeper in the league.”
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