Late score lifts Galena past Tigers
There really were no surprises Tuesday night when the Douglas Tigers and Galena Grizzlies collided in a matchup between Sierra League girls soccer title contenders in Minden.
The game was closely contested and very physical.
Both sides scrapped on even terms for 69 minutes before freshman midfielder Lauren Muff scored the go-ahead goal and the Grizzlies held on for a 2-1 victory at Keith Roman Field.
Douglas (8-1-1 league, 9-2-1 overall) had its 10-game unbeaten streak end and dropped out of a first-place tie with Carson in what has developed into a close league race. Carson (9-0-1) has 28 points after its 6-1 win against Wooster on Tuesday night, one point ahead of Galena (9-1, 10-2) and two points ahead of Douglas.
The Tigers will have a chance to gain ground on Saturday when they visit Carson for a 12:30 p.m. contest.
“We have three days to heal up; we just have to regroup and move on from here,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said.
At least three players had to be helped off the field on Tuesday — none returned — including Douglas forwards Peri Buck and Alex Moss. Buck sustained a knee injury in a collision with the goalkeeper in front of the net as she passed off to Moss for the game’s first goal in the fifth minute. A few minutes later, Moss went down with an ankle injury.
“That was a physical game,” Christen said. “We knew it would be; they’re physical. They’ve got a good squad.”
After Douglas took its early lead, Galena’s Peyton Kosman answered with a goal in the 15th minute to create a 1-1 tie that stood at halftime.
Galena had three other scoring opportunities shortly before the intermission, only to be denied as Grace Park saved a one-on-shot shot and McKenna Hoyle cleared the ball out of the box. Two other opportunities were denied in the 40th minute when Payson Coverley and Hannah Mora cleared the ball out of the box.
In the 69th minute, a corner kick set up Galena’s go-ahead goal when Muff gathered in a cross from Heather Huene and redirected the ball into the net.
Douglas tried to answer one minute later, however, Macey Weston’s shot from the left side struck the near goalpost.
Douglas racked up its 10th straight win of the season by a 3-0 verdict over a “quality” Galena squad in what coach Rick Smith said may have been the team’s “best performance” of the season.
The Tigers, who have outscored their opposition 56-7 to date, took an early lead in the third minute when center midfielder Tess Sando sent a pass on the right side to Vaneza Diaz, who placed the ball over the goalkeeper’s head to the far post from outside the penalty box.
Shortly before halftime, Austin Zivkovic drove to the end line and centered the ball to Jessee Cabrera, who was wide open at the 6-yard box line for a redirection into the goal.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, Douglas scored its final goal on a “perfectly placed” ball into the lower corner by Zivkovic off a cross from Diaz.
The defensive backline continued a season in which it has allowed only a few shots on goal, according to coach Smith, who mentioned the play of Claire Ingrey, Colby Bera, Hailey Christensen, Sophia Bottino, Savanna Harrington, Tara Dragoo, Ariana Bilderback and Alejandra Ramos.
This marked the fourth straight shutout for freshman goalkeeper Meleeah McKown.
Midfielders Ameila Cochran, Caitlyn Camara, Dana Merriam, Adriana Grant and Maddie Vickers provided the connection between the backline and the strikers, including Faye Fournier, Devi Schwartz and Calli Weston, coach Smith added.