Howls spark improbable comeback for Lake Tahoe CC men’s soccer
With six minutes left in its conference match against Feather River College (Quincy, Calif.) on Friday, the Lake Tahoe Community College men’s soccer team appeared finished. The Golden Eagles had just taken a 2-0 lead, and Coyotes players sat on the field dejected at the thought of their first loss in conference play.
Then the howls started. And shortly thereafter, Lake Tahoe’s improbable comeback.
LTCC scored twice before the final whistle, rallying to tie Feather River 2-2 and remain unbeaten in conference play. Midfielder Jordan Potts scored the game-tying goal with a header in the 90th minute, six minutes after defender Josh Jirbandey converted a penalty kick to make it 2-1.
“I have never experienced such a comeback in all my coaching career,” Coyotes head coach Ben Wade said.
Lake Tahoe (8-4-3, 3-0-1 Golden Valley) trailed 1-0 at halftime. Late in the second half, Feather River (7-4-3, 2-0-1) scored on a mistake by the Coyotes goalkeeper to take a seemingly decisive two-goal lead in the battle between the conference’s top two teams.
After the Golden Eagles’ second goal, Coyotes’ fans began cheers sparked by the school’s now-signature howls. At that point, the cheering seemed in vain.
“And then the crowd got even louder,” Wade wrote after the match. “Coyote howls were echoing throughout the field. I couldn’t believe it — most American sports fans would have started to trickle away, sensing defeat. And yet no one in that crowd moved to leave. Instead, they stood and cheered even louder.
“And a funny thing happened. The guys started to believe — they started to believe that they were still in the game,” Wade wrote. “I spoke to many of them afterwards, who said the turning point in those last few minutes was the crowd.”
Jirbandey’s penalty kick began the comeback — Potts’ game-tying header came off an assist from midfielder Soeren Gelbrecht. After scoring, Potts was mobbed by his teammates in a dogpile near midfield.
“To think that our fans would stick it out and stay there on the field with the sun setting and the wind blowing, and yet they were still cheering on their Coyotes,” Wade wrote.
Lake Tahoe’s tie with Feather River keeps them atop the conference standings. After last weekend, the Coyotes were ranked 19th in the state and 10th in Northern California.
Lake Tahoe return to action Tuesday against Shasta College (Redding, Calif.) in its last home match of the regular season. The Coyotes travel to Feather River on Friday to start a stretch of four straight road contests.