Girls soccer: Dayton holds off Whittell in regional quarterfinal
RENO – If a high school soccer game was 90 minutes instead of 80 minutes,
the Whittell High girls might be playing for a state tournament berth this
weekend. Unfortunately for the Warriors, 80 minutes was all they got.
Dayton’s Erika Garcia scored two of her team’s four goals in the first half
and led the Dust Devils to a 4-3 win over Whittell in the first round of the
Northern 3A regional tournament on Thursday at the South Valleys Regional
Whittell (14-8-1) scored all three of its goals in a 15-minute span in the
second half, but it was unable to find a fourth goal in the game’s closing
minutes. Not that Dayton coach Tim Logan was disappointed.
“I was very nervous, and so were the kids,” Logan said. “I saw that game
turning on us. Whittell is a fabulous team. We are happy to get out of here
with a win. The lake schools are, well, the lake schools. They are always
dominant, but I think the teams in our league are on the rise.”
Dayton (14-5), the No. 2 seed from the Sagebrush League, will play Tahoe
League champion Truckee in a semifinal match on Friday in Fallon. North
Tahoe, the No. 2 seed from the Tahoe League, will face either Incline, the
Tahoe League’s No. 4 seed or Sagebrush League champion Spring Creek in the
With the top three teams advancing to next week’s Nevada 3A state
tournament, the Warriors felt this might be their year.
“It’s been a great season, a great ride,” said WHS first-year coach Tony
Cormier. “If I had to lose, this would be the way I would want to lose.”
The Dust Devils, who beat the Warriors twice during the regular season, went
up 1-0 in the eighth minute on Garcia’s breakaway goal. Natasha Olivera and
Sara Elissa both added goals of their own before Garcia added another
breakaway goal in the 38th minute to give Dayton a 4-0 halftime lead.
But the Warriors made a tactical move in the second half by putting starting
goalkeeper Hannah Daly on the field. Although Daly is a goalie for the
United States Under-16 women’s national team, her ability as a field player
also is an asset.
With Daly in a defensive-minded role, thus neutralizing Dayton’s fastest
players, it enabled Whittell’s other top players to attack the Dust Devil
In the 58th minute, senior Megan Alexander sent a ball into the box that was
redirected by Tierney McKool to make it 4-1. Less than 10 minutes later,
Alexander’s cross into the box again found an unmarked McKool, who flicked a
shot past the Dayton goalie.
Then in the 73rd minute, Alexander, in no mood to let her senior year end
with a loss, scored on a long-range shot that was only partially saved
before bouncing into the net. Suddenly, the Warriors were trailing 4-3 and
had all the momentum.
“We started off a little sluggish,” Cormier said. “They surprised us a
couple times in the first half, and in a game like this, you usually pay for
your mistakes. But we owned the second half. We beat them to every ball, so
I am proud of all the girls.”
With Whittell continuing to push the attack, the referee blew the final
whistle and ended any hope of a comeback. But with only two seniors
graduating ” Alexander and Becca Gardner ” Whittell should be back in the
playoffs next season.
“Unfortunately we are losing two seniors, but it’s only two and our team is
not going to change much,” Cormier said. “The two of them will definitely be
missed, but I think Whittell is going to be strong for years to come. I
can’t wait until next fall.”
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