Girls’ Soccer: Lady Tigers clinch regional title | RecordCourier.com

Girls’ Soccer: Lady Tigers clinch regional title

by Joey Crandall

There’s been something nagging at the Douglas Tiger girls’ soccer team all year.

It’s that little matter of losing to Reed in the Northern 4A title game last November.

“It was always on our minds,” Douglas sophomore Katie Dry said. “We talked all week, all year about all the hard work we put in, especially with the group of seniors we had, only to come up short. We knew we had to step it up this year after losing last year. It’s what we’ve been working toward all year.”

Mission accomplished.

Dry hammered home a penalty kick in the 14th minute of overtime Saturday afternoon to give the Tigers a 2-1 victory over South Tahoe, clinching Douglas’ first regional title since 2002.

She was awarded the kick after breaking free one-on-one with Tahoe keeper Alexis Nunes-Fenley with no more than 30 seconds left in overtime.

Nunes-Fenley came out to challenge the play and took Dry down to the turf as Dry shot. The ball dribbled just wide of the far post, but Nunes-Fenley was issued a red card on the play and Dry given the penalty kick.

Dry sent a rocket high toward the center of the net, beating Tahoe’s backup keeper for the goal and the win.

“All this week, when we’ve been practicing, that’s where I want my shot to go,” Dry said. “I managed to put it in the same spot today.

“I knew if I did miss it, my team would pull through at the end. Whether or not I missed it or made it, it would’ve turned out well. I just looked at it as another opportunity.”

Douglas improved to 21-2-2 overall on the year and will play Faith Lutheran at 2 p.m. Friday in the first round of the state tournament at Damonte Ranch.

Tahoe got on the board early as Shelby Spicer got loose on a breakaway in the third minute and rolled the ball past Douglas keeper Briana Randall for the 1-0 lead.

Douglas answered in the 14th minute when Dry made a run down the right side and crossed to the far post for Kyra Barth, who tapped it in for the goal.

From there, the two team’s defenses took over, although the Tigers 18 shots in the game, compared to Tahoe’s eight.

“Brianna (Randall) didn’t get a ton of pressure today, but she was ready when they came at her,” Douglas coach Lorraine Fitzhugh said of her keeper, who made six saves on the afternoon.

“We had some people really step up on defense too, like Shannon Hubbard and Holly Downer. With a team like South Tahoe, who is so patient in their approach, you just have to stick with it and wait for your chances.

“Our pressure comes from every player on the field, so you have to give them all credit. They got right in there and refused to be pushed off the ball.”

Fitzhugh added that the last year’s loss in the title game didn’t just serve as motivation, but also as excellent preparation.

“After last year’s heartache, there were so many girls that returned who came in very solid and confident,” she said. “There wasn’t any of that ‘deer in the headlights’ type of mentality. And for the girls who weren’t with us last year, they listened to what our veterans had to say.

“It’s just a sweet feeling all around.”