Tigers advance to soccer semifinals | RecordCourier.com

Tigers advance to soccer semifinals

Senior season … Final home game … Tie score in the second half of a tough playoff game … A defender whose scoring opportunities are rare, no less … McKenna Hoyle had good reason to celebrate her first goal of the season for the Douglas High girls soccer team on Monday night.

Hoyle's goal in the 69th minute broke a 1-all tie and put the Tigers on track to a 3-1 Northern 4A Region Tournament opening round win over the Reno Huskies at Keith Roman Field.

Tess Sando added an insurance goal, also her first of the season, to provide more than enough support for a stellar defensive performance that sent the Tigers past the defending region champion Huskies.

Douglas (16-2-4 overall) now advances to the semifinals and a 4 p.m. contest today against No. 1 High Desert League seed McQueen at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks.

Meanwhile, the Tigers took time to celebrate their hard-fought win against Reno (11-5-4) .

"It definitely brought me to tears," Hoyle said of her goal. "This was my last home game, so it was emotional."

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For the team's veterans, this relieves memories of a 2-1 double overtime loss at McQueen in the 2016 region opener. McQueen eventually lost 1-0 to Reno in the championship match.

"It was a tough game against a quality Reno team and we earned it," said first-year Douglas head coach Rick Smith. "It wasn't our best soccer, but we played with extreme intensity and desire."

The two teams battled through a scoreless first half before the Tigers took a 1-0 lead when sophomore Molly Coverley ripped a 35-yard shot to the upper left hand corner of the net in the 46th minute.

"We scored three goals and our strikers didn't score any of them, I liked that" Smith said. "They (Reno) packed in the back to try and stop us, but (dual strikers) Peri Buck and Alexa Moss put pressure on their defense all night, and that opened up opportunities for their teammates."

The Huskies didn't go down quietly. They answered in the 55th minute when Olivia Cisneros sent a long pass downfield to Taylor Oliphant, whose shot from near the right baseline got past goalkeeper Jordan Smith and caromed off a defender into the net.

Other than that, the Tigers were near flawless on the defensive end, sparked by Madi Smalley, Claire Ingrey, Devi Schwartz, Hoyle and Smith.

"Devi and McKenna were phenomenal," Smith said. "And Claire is one of those players who is quiet but just takes care of business."

Midway through the first half, Ingrey broke up two successive attacks in the box that prevented the Huskies from getting a shot off. And in the waning moments before halftime, Smalley cleared the ball out of the box to deny the Huskies a shot opportunity.

Douglas regained the lead after a throw-in that set up Hoyle's goal on a short shot from the right side.

"The ball came in and fell to Peri," Hoyle said. "Another player deflected it (shot attempt) and it came to me … I just tipped it over the keeper's head."

Sando, a sophomore midfielder, extended the lead to 3-1 in the 75th minute after she beat a defender to the ball after Smalley's booming free kick from near midfield.

Now, the Tigers are looking forward to playing some more soccer and a game today against a McQueen team that ended their 2016 season.

"We have the potential to play four more games," Hoyle said immediately after the game, referring to the region and state tournaments. "First, we have McQueen and that will be a challenging game, for sure."

MOVING FORWARD

In other opening round matches on Monday, McQueen posted a 3-1 win over Bishop Manogue, Sierra League champion Galena was a 3-1 victor over Reed and Spanish Springs blanked Damonte Ranch, 2-0. Spanish Springs will face Galena in the other semifinal today at 6 p.m. The girls championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Spanish Springs. Both finalists qualify for the state tournament on Nov. 10-11 at North Valleys High School in Reno.