Soccer: Tigers set for boys’, girls’ state semifinals | RecordCourier.com

Soccer: Tigers set for boys’, girls’ state semifinals

by Joey Crandall

Both the Douglas boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will meet up with teams on a roll this afternoon in the NIAA 4A State Championship semifinals at Damonte Ranch High School.

The girls kick things off at 2 p.m. against Southern 4A champ Faith Lutheran. The boys follow at 4 p.m. against defending 4A state champ Las Vegas.

Douglas will be playing in the first-ever true state tournament as Faith Lutheran and Pahrump Valley were added in the Southern 4A this fall.

The Clark County School District has always played girls’ soccer in the winter, and was scheduled to move the fall last season before a Title IX lawsuit got in the way. Faith Lutheran and Pahrump Valley had been slated to jump to the 4A in all sports this year, but there was no organized fall girls’ soccer season waiting for them when they got there.

The NIAA allowed both school to compete with an independent schedule this year with the two playing at the end of the year for a spot in this weekend’s state tournament.

Faith Lutheran comes into today’s game riding a 16-game win streak. The Crusaders, predictably, have feasted on 3A competition, winning games by 13 and 14 goals. Eight of their 17 wins have come by more than five goals.

They haven’t been bad defensively either, having not allowed a goal since Oct. 3. On the year they’ve only surrendered 13 goals.

But the good news for the Tigers is that five of those goals came against — you guessed it — Douglas.

Yes, Douglas handed Faith Lutheran its only loss of the year, a 5-0 tilt during the Galena Preseason Tournament in August.

Faith Lutheran is lead by senior midfielder Maddy Courvoisier and keeper Kelly Zufall.

The Tigers (21-2-2) are coming off a thrilling 2-1 in overtime over South Tahoe on Saturday to claim their first regional title since 2002. They have already set the school record for wins in a season and boast one of the most balanced and wide-open attacks in the state.

Midfielder Alex Laing and forward CJ Baumgartner lead the team with 14 goals each, but Katie Dry (11 goals), Holly Downer (eight), Jessica Vega (seven), Lexi Weaver (four) and Kyra Barth (four) have been dangerous as well.

Perhaps the more striking statistic is the team’s assists, which total 30 and come from 10 different players, nine of whom are regular starters.

On defense, Douglas has allowed just 18 goals. Keeper Brianna Randall has posted 11 shutouts on the year, but that is also in large part due to the strong defensive backfield of Cora Moody, Shannon Hubbard, Erica Macias and either Dry or Downer depending on whoever is playing further up.

In the boys’ game, Douglas will bring one of the state’s top defenses to counter one of the state’s stop offensive players, Las Vegas’ Joaquin Rivas.

Rivas had six goals and three assists in just three regional tournament matches last week, adding to his season total of over 30 goals.

Douglas, though, has based most of its game plan throughout the season on its defense. While they have allowed 30 goals on the year, 10 came during the preseason tournament when they were still trying to solidify a starting lineup.

The core group that has emerged particularly during the regional tournament includes Brian Randall — arguably one of the top defensive players in the Northern 4A — Gavin Fitzhugh, Tyler Bankofier, Fernando Ramos and Troy Cohee with Ivan Gonzalez in net.

That’s not to say that Vegas is without its defensive weapons and Douglas lacks power on offense.

The Wildcats (15-4) have allowed only 21 goals on the year, including just one through the regional tournament, using the tandem of Aaron Lopez and Roger Zaragoza in net.

Douglas’ Edgar Arceo is one of the most prolific scorers in school history, leading the team with 14 goals this season. He has 53 goals and 23 assists in his four-year career for the Tigers.

Senior Cole Cline has come on strong in the past few weeks and has nine assists and four goals on the year.

The R-C will be posting live updates online through both games. Check record courier.com to keep up with the action.