Douglas High girls soccer falls in quarterfinals of state tournament to Centennial
Tigers will lose 13 seniors to graduation prior to 2020 season
RENO – Douglas played the style of soccer it was looking for in the quarterfinals of the state tournament, but the Tigers couldn’t bounce back from two Centennial second half goals.
A 3-1 final saw Douglas hit the handshake line one last time as the Bulldogs advanced to the state semifinals where they will play Coronado Friday at noon.
Despite playing shorthanded, Douglas was the one to open up the scoring in the 14th minute.
The Tigers controlled nearly every aspect of the game in the first 15 minutes and Vaneza Diaz capped that span with the first score. Diaz ended up with the ball at her feet and plenty of time, finding the bottom right corner of the net with ease.
Douglas’ leading scorer and Sierra League Offense Player of the Year, Madi Smalley, was sidelined for the game after a knee injury suffered in the regional final against Galena turned out to be a minor cracked tibia, according to Douglas head coach Andrew Robles.
Robles said there was a chance Smalley could have played, but he wasn’t willing to risk the senior forward potentially making the injury worse.
Centennial shifts the tide
After a flat start, Centennial responded quickly to Douglas’ goal with one of its own. In the 20th minute, a scramble in the box allowed Viviana Cera to get an initial shot off, slip and then kick the rebound into the back of the net.
Douglas put together a quick counter on a run up the near sideline as Amelia Cochran found Kamryn Harper in the 22nd minute. Harper pushed the ball to the corner flag for Hailey Christensen, who crossed it into the box.
However, Centennial’s keeper was able to catch the cross in mid-air to stifle the chance.
In the final moments before half, the Bulldogs’ last effort resulted in a shot that Douglas keeper Madelyn VonAhsen pushed off the post with a diving effort.
Diaz opened the second half with Douglas’ best scoring opportunity of the final 40 minutes, which found the back of the net. However, Diaz was ruled offside on the play, bringing the goal back.
In the 49th minute, Centennial stole a goal that put the Bulldogs in front as Douglas tried to play it back to their keeper.
VonAhsen and Centennial’s Quincy Bond reach the ball at nearly the same time, but Bond got the benefit of a perfect bounce back that sailed into the upper corner of the goal.
Douglas continued to play its possession game and held the ball for the majority of the game’s final 30 minutes, but Centennial kept the Tigers’ chances at distance and stayed unharmed in the process.
The Bulldogs put the final touches on the game in the 77th minute as a corner kick eventually landed at the feet of Kayla Barto, who needed little time to put the ball into the net.
“The thing was state. Of course, it would have been good to win it. We were at the top of everything,” said Robles postgame.
A new class
Douglas finishes the year with a 14-8-1 overall record and will lose 13 seniors to graduation once the year is out.
Robles, who is in his first year of coaching the Tigers, had plenty of compliments to pay his seniors after they walked off a high school soccer field for the last time.
“Amazing. I knew they were strong. I knew they were fast and I knew they were good as a team,” said Robles. “I came in here to challenge them. … We were finalists in league, region and made it to state. That doesn’t just happen. A great group of girls.”
Along with praising his seniors, Robles mention his excitement for the future of Douglas soccer after the Tigers JV team went 18-0 this season and several starters from this year’s state tournament team return in 2020.
The Douglas seniors bow out with a 56-23-8 record over the last four seasons, including four postseason appearances and two state playoff berths.