Echan lights up Yerington for six goals
Todd Echan scored six points for Whittell High on Wednesday, but it wasn’t for the football team.
The senior forward found the back of the Yerington goal six times as the Warriors trounced the Lions 7-0 to clinch a state playoff berth in Zephyr Cove.
“It feels pretty good. It felt like I was in a totally different zone,” said Echan, whose previous-best goal output was three. “But I have to thank
my teammates. They gave me the best passes.”
Echan scored three times in each half, converting each shot with his foot.
“As far as I know that’s the most anybody at our school has ever scored in one game,” said Whittell coach Steve Maltase. “He had a lot of patience when he got the ball. He took his time and placed the ball well. Obviously he’s getting the hang of playing forward.”
Maltase switched Echan from defense to forward six games ago to energize the offense. The dividends have been huge as the Warriors have surged into first place in Nevada 3A Division II with a 7-2 record. The Warriors can clinch their second straight division title with a win at Lovelock on Friday.
Otherwise, the Warriors will finish in second place and travel to North Tahoe to open the state tournament. As division champs, they would host the third seed from the South in a first-round state game.
Chris Markt delivered the Warriors’ other goal and chipped in with two assists. Kyle Spingola and Pat Heeran also contributed two assists.
“I’m totally pleased with the effort,” Maltase said. “We came out and moved the ball well, and everybody contributed.”
Whittell High’s first four-year girls soccer players expected the rose they each received for their final home game as seniors. But they never counted on roses from Yerington after blitzing the Lions 7-3 Wednesday in Zephyr Cove.
“I’ve never received a rose from the other soccer team. I was a little surprised,” said Benvenuto, who scored two goals. “They were so physical the last time we played them that they got a red card and a yellow card. They gave us the roses because of how rough they were.”
Whittell was rough on the Lions this time – on the scoreboard. Corky Novotny also scored two goals, while Jackie Laurian, Meredith Shaw and Caitlin Fagan stretched the net once.
Benvenuto along with seniors Novotny, Amber Merkel and Renee Cascino helped introduce girls soccer to the school four years ago.
“I remember playing our first game and scoring the first goal for team. It’s kind of cool,” she said.
Even cooler was when the Warriors learned earlier this week that they are still in the state playoff hunt. Should Whittell and Bishop Manogue finish the regular season with identical 7-3 records, the schools will meet in a one-game playoff Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Galena High School in Reno. The Warriors, 11-7 overall, conclude the regular season by visiting Lovelock on Friday.
“It’s better to settle it on the field,” said Whittell coach Mike Leeper, whose Warriors lost to Manogue 3-1 last Friday. “It gives us a chance to redeem ourselves, and the girls are looking forward to it.”
Benvenuto believes the Warriors will avenge the defeat.
“We’re a better team than they are. We just have to want it more than them,” she said.
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