Highlanders squeak past Warriors
ZEPHYR COVE – Whittell High girls’ soccer coach Lydia von Rumpf has been arguing all season that this year’s team is different from last year’s. After two close losses to Incline, there is another coach who agrees with her.
“Whittell has played us tough this season,” said Incline coach Bruce Maller, whose team defeated Whittell 2-1 last month in Incline Village. “The results have been the right results. I think the better team won, but give credit to Whittell’s coach and their players.”
While Whittell’s effort was recognized, it was Monica Ceragioli’s two first-half goals that made the difference as the Highlanders held off a courageous second-half rally by the Warriors and posted a 3-1 3A Sierra League victory on Tuesday at Whittell High School. Incline improves to 9-2 overall and 3-2 in league.
“We’re so used to losing to those teams, but we’re a different team now,” von Rumpf said. “We can compete with North Tahoe and Incline. If somebody watched us last year and watched us this year, they would see we are completely different. But it still takes the girls a little while to settle into the game. It was a 1-1 game in the second half.”
In the 44th minute, Whittell’s Megan Alexander was taken down in the midfield and it was the ensuing free kick that sparked the Warriors’ comeback. Marissa McKool stepped up to the spot of the foul and drilled a 40-yard shot that beat the Incline keeper to make it 2-1.
A few minutes later, Alexander’s corner kick dropped into the box and Whittell followed with two close-range shots that were deflected and then cleared. Sasha Severance, though, added an insurance goal for Incline in the 69th minute off a cross from Charlene O’Connor and ended the Warriors’ chances.
In the game earlier this season, Whittell tied it 1-1 on a free kick in the first minute of the second half before allowing a late goal. Just as in that game, freshman goalie Hannah Daly allowed the Warriors to stay close to the Highlanders.
Daly made nine saves on Tuesday, several of which stopped certain goals.
“The keeper from Whittell is outstanding,” Maller said. “She keeps them in games. She played outstanding in the first game and was outstanding again today. We had the upper hand in the first half, but she kept us out of the net.”
Even with the loss, Whittell remains in fourth place in the league standings, three points ahead of Sparks for the final playoff spot in the Northern 3A regional tournament. The Warriors (11-5 overall, 1-5 league) don’t play again until Oct. 20, when they travel for a nonleague game at Lowry.