Late comeback boosts Douglas
Sparked by heart-breaking memories from last November, the Douglas High girls soccer team staged an improbable comeback Tuesday to secure a 2-1 victory at home against McQueen.
Abby Jens and Alexa Moss scored goals in the final three minutes, both assisted by Peri Buck, as Douglas (1-0 league, 4-0 overall) won the Northern 4A conference opener for both teams. And yes, the Tigers gained a measure of revenge from their 2-1 double overtime loss at McQueen in the first round of the 2016 region playoffs.
Jens scored in the 78th minute to tie the contest and Moss followed with the game-winner moments later.
Buck missed the last half of the Tigers’ 2016 season due to a knee injury and was on the sidelines watching that double overtime playoff loss at McQueen.
“It made me very upset that I couldn’t play. I wanted to be out there helping my team,” she said, looking back. “So I had a different fire in my heart. I know we all came in ready for this game. We talked about it all through the game … in the huddle, we were like, ‘Hey, this team knocked us out last year; we cannot let them beat us.’”
There simply couldn’t have been a better way for the Tigers to finish their season home opener.
“They never gave up,” coach Rick Smith said of the comeback. “All the conditioning we’ve done paid off. They just kept pressing, and at the end, they found the right opportunity to the right foot and at the right time.”
McQueen broke a scoreless duel in the 65th minute on a penalty kick.
Douglas scored the equalizer when Amelia Cochran crossed a pass toward the net, Buck’s attempted shot was deflected and Jens scored on her follow shot. Buck said the Tigers weren’t willing to sit back and settle for a tie.
“We were pretty fired up after that,” the senior forward said. “I know we were all like, ‘Let’s put our best effort into these last couple of minutes and go as hard as we can.’”
Buck took the ball away after the ensuing kickoff and drove past three defenders.
“I didn’t know how much time was left, I just knew I had to go for it,” she said. “I didn’t even have to look, I knew Alexa would be right there so I turned and kicked it.”
And Moss planted her left-foot shot in the net.
“It was pretty awesome,” Buck added with a wide smile.
Coach Smith was quick to give credit to the Lancers.
“McQueen is a very tough team,” he said. “They have very good speed. We could see them again in the playoffs.”
The coach praised the Tigers’ back line defense — Madison Smalley, McKenna Hoyle, Claire Ingrey, Devi Schwartz, Sophia Bottino and Hailey Christensen — in addition to goalkeeper Jordan Smith.