STHS, Douglas meet for a third time
If there is one role the Douglas boys’ soccer team relishes in, it’s being giant killers. The Tigers upheld their reputation on Saturday, knocking off top-seeded McQueen in the first round of the Northern 4A regional tournament.
Douglas, which also posted an first-round upset last year as a higher-seeded team, gets another chance at glory when it faces South Tahoe in the regional semifinals tonight at 6 p.m. at Damonte Ranch in Reno.
“South Tahoe is a team that is used to playing with a lot of pressure,” DHS coach Milko Vasquez said of the second-seeded Vikings, who are also the defending 4A state champion. “It’s a very formidable challenge for us (as a No. 4 seed). I have been in both situations, but without a doubt, if a team comes in expecting to win and things aren’t going their way, it starts to get difficult for them. My guys are relaxed.”
South Tahoe (17-4-2) has already beaten the Tigers twice this season by a combined 7-2. The Vikings also faced Douglas last year in the regional semifinals and won 3-0 en route to their regional championship trophy.
The Vikings’ defense, which only allowed a penalty kick goal in a 2-1 victory over Reed in the first round on Saturday, will have to contain the Tigers’ Michael Gransbery. The senior has scored 29 goals this season – one shy of South Tahoe Ernesto Mosqueda’s mark last season. Michael Barnes is second on the team in scoring, notching 16 goals for the Tigers.
“We’ve proven a way to beat them, but everything is a clean slate in the playoffs,” STHS Chris DeLeon said of the Tigers. “We feel the pressure because there is always a community expectation out of our team. But that’s OK because we know how to play with pressure.”
While the Vikings have won two of the past three 4A state titles, Douglas is trying to advance to the regional final for the first time since 2004, when it lost to rival Carson. However, the Tigers will be without their starting goalkeeper against the Vikings because of a broken rib.
“We’re not going to win a game 1-0,” Vasquez said. “We need to come out strong and go from there. I am really thankful these kids know how to play game. I think they will be able to rise up to the challenge.”
In the other semifinal, Carson plays Reno at 4 p.m. The Senators are aiming for their second zone title in the past three years, having advanced to the state semifinals in 2004.