Between South Tahoe and Whittell, there was a lot of state-championship soccer potential on the field Thursday.
The girls soccer teams met on the pitch for an intense cross-town rivalry at Whittell High School Thursday. South Tahoe came out strong in the second half, but Whittell’s defense would not budge and the non-league game ended in a 1-1 tie.
“In the second half we played a lot of defense,” Whittell coach Patrick Kelly said. “South Tahoe attacks the ball very well and for us to hold on to that 1-1 tie, I was pleased with that.”
Both teams were on the attack in the first half, but Whittell struck first with a goal in the opening 10 minutes.
Whittell striker Jenny Shepack drove the ball past South Tahoe’s defense and drew out the goalkeeper. Shepack then sent the ball to Sabrina Trachsel who followed it into the net.
The Warriors were up 1-0, but their goal sparked South Tahoe. The Vikings started to pick up the intensity.
South Tahoe’s Jensen Smith tied the game in the 18th minute. The senior defender with a big shot sent a direct kick arcing in the top left corner of Whittell’s net from about 35 yards out.
The Vikings then upped their game in the second half.
“I warned them all throughout the week that Whittell has good soccer players,” South Tahoe coach Jeremy Evans said. “We have good soccer players too, but you’ve got to match that intensity. I don’t think we realized it until the second half.”
South Tahoe’s offense, led by Cassidy Jackson, Jordyn Dion and Brittany Hubberts, kept the ball in Whittell’s zone for most of the second half, but Whittell’s defense, led by goalkeeper Brittany Boulet, and defenders Skylar Smith, Michael Gardner and Daria Sharon held them off.
“We finally played with a sense or urgency,” Evans said, “but you can’t wait until the 50th or 60th minute, and if this team wants to go where we all believe the talent can take it, you have to play hard from the opening whistle to the final minute. The first minute is as important as the 80th minute.”
UP NEXT: South Tahoe (5-0-1) will host Sparks at 1 p.m. Saturday, and Whittell (5-1) will travel to Yerington on Saturday.